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Floods prompt Nash County to form advisory panel

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NASHVILLE — A history of flooding has prompted Nash County to create a new advisory committee to help county officials address ongoing impacts of floods and related environmental issues.

County commissioners at their Sept. 8 regular meeting unanimously voted to establish a Natural Resource Resilience Committee at the suggestion of Soil and Water Director Edward Long.

“Nash County citizens have had a history of issues with flooding due to debris in our rivers, streams and creeks,” Long told the board. “Tropical storms and hurricanes take an annual toll on our aquatic environments. They create flooding for property owners living along waterways, and water-covered roadways make for dangerous driving conditions for all of our citizens.”

Long said the county began seeking grants to clean out debris from waterways in September 2017. In the past three years, he said, the county has received $518,265 to clean debris from Stoney Creek, Turkey Creek and the Tar River. A future project is planned to remove debris from Fishing Creek.

He said the county is also involved in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s beaver dam removal program and is currently trapping beavers and removing dams.

“The need for these projects will be continuous and other issues with flooding and standing water such as mosquitos will remain issues for Nash County to mitigate,” he said.

The new panel’s purpose, he said, is to “serve as an advisory committee to the Nash County commissioners on issues that may develop before, during, or after high-water events or other environmental issues that may arise.”

Long proposed a six-member committee that would meet bimonthly and would be tasked with three objectives: identify areas that have reccurring floods, develop strategies to mitigate such events and related issues and educate the public on “how to become more resilient” to flooding.

To serve on the committee, he recommended the board appoint himself; Willie Harrison, a member of the Nash Soil and Water Conservation District Board; Lori Boone of Nash County Environmental Health; a representative of the N.C. Forest Service; and two residents, Tim Bartholomew and Bill Lewis.

“This certainly needs to be a priority,” said Commissioner Sue Leggett.

Commissioner Fred Belfield suggested that a commissioner be added to the committee, and board Chairman Robbie Davis asked Leggett to serve as the board’s representative. She agreed.

NOISE COMPLAINTS 

In other business, Davis asked County Manager Zee Lamb to form a committee to investigate noise issues that have been repeatedly raised at meetings for the past few months.

Earlier in the meeting, Vanise and Deborah Hardy of Wilson County appeared again during the public comment section to complain about neighbors’ use of propane cannons to scare off wildlife. 

“It is not a part of a farming operation,” argued Deborah Hardy. “It is a noise violation.”

Nashville resident Dorothy Battle also made another presentation to commissioners, repeating a complaint about noise from a nearby firearms training business.

Commissioner Lou Richardson said the county should respond to the noise complaints by reviewing the noise section in the county’s unified development ordinance.

“There has to be something in there we should have a little control over,” she said. “Let’s go back to the UDO and put words in there that’s going to enforce (it). Let’s protect our citizens.”

“It looks to me like the noise ordinance would end the shooting range, if we enforce it,” said Commissioner Dan Cone.

Commissioner Wayne Outlaw suggested that Lamb ask the Hardys to serve on the ad-hoc committee and Davis suggested Battle be asked to serve as well.

In an unrelated informal action, Davis asked Lamb to work with utilities director Jonathan Boone to review the county’s policies on required water taps to the county’s water system that aren’t being used and make any recommendations for changes. Davis said about 500 taps are affected.

Commissioners will next meet at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in Nashville.  

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