Henderson Co. asked to enforce Columbus soil & erosion ordinance

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Town of Columbus approved an inter-local agreement last week for Henderson County to enforce its soil and erosion ordinance.

Columbus Town Council met Thursday, Sept. 19 and approved the agreement after speaking with Henderson County Engineer Marcus Jones and Natalie Berry, assistant Henderson County engineer.

Columbus is now awaiting Henderson County and the state board of soil and erosion control to approve the agreement.

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During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, Columbus asked the state to allow the town to conduct its own soil and erosion control program and approved its own ordinance. After trained town staff enforced the ordinance for a couple of years, there is no longer anyone qualified to do so.

Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe told council several weeks ago the town either needed to give enforcement back to the state or contract with another entity.

Jones and Berry said they administer several jurisdictions within Henderson County, as well as the county’s ordinance, but this would be the first contract across county borders. Jones said there are some differences between Henderson County’s and Columbus’ ordinances, but not many, so it would not be difficult for them to enforce.

Councilwoman Ernie Kan said Columbus looked at Henderson County’s ordinance when the town drafted their own.

Kanipe said Henderson County conducts enforcement for any earth moving over 1 acre. Over the past three years, Columbus has only had a handful of incidences that needed permitting for earth moving, Kanipe said, and the town’s current fees are enough to cover Henderson County’s costs.

In the past year and a half, Columbus soil and erosion ordinance was triggered by the state employee credit union bank building and the St. Luke’s Hospital expansion. Kanipe said like any zoning process, the town either has someone come in and submit an application or town staff may see something going on and the town will start the process with Henderson County.

Jones said the inter-local agreement should make Henderson County’s Oct. 7 agenda.

The state board of soil and erosion control meets quarterly and is scheduled to meet again in November.