Overflow Crowd Jams Magnolia Hall
Supports Phase 5 Committee On Lagoon and Stormwater Drainage Issues
The January 22 DHEC Public Hearing on Phase 5 Lagoon and Stormwater Drainage Issues drew an overflow crowd of over 600 residents to the beautiful new Magnolia Hall. Every one of the 540 seats was filled and 100-150 people had to be turned away as fire laws prohibited any standing room attendees.
This important meeting, which would never have happened without the efforts of the Phase 5 Lagoon Committee, was likely the one time in which all property owners in Sun City were able to speak directly to DHEC officials about their own lagoon and wetlands concerns. After an introduction of the DHEC team and their respective roles, resident Timothy Doyle P.E., a retired Civil Engineer with years of experience in stormwater management systems, presented his independent Engineering Report on the Phase 5 system relating to design and construction problems. Doyle compared DHEC approved construction plans for our neighborhoods against “as-built” drawings all of which were prepared by Pulte’s Thomas & Hutton Engineering Company. He made field inspections of all 32 lagoons. He examined issues of pond depth deficiency, rip-rap overflow failure and soil erosion. At present, 19 of the 32 lagoons have as-built water levels below what is shown on the DHEC approved construction plans. 27 do not meet the 5.0 to 5.7 foot depths indicated on those same plans. Doyle found that even after the work Pulte proposes to “fix” our lagoons, 16 will still be deficient in depth because their bottoms are too shallow or their outflows or ‘weirs” will still be too low. Additionally, several wetlands have been flooded due to overflow failure or poor design of portions of the stormwater system and numerous hardwood trees are rotting and dying around us. Pulte has offered no solutions to this issue.
Phase 5 Lagoon Committee Chairman, Rick McCollough of Aster Fields, took the audience through the lengthy and painful history of the past three years in trying to get the developer to address and properly correct all of these problems. Residents sent hundreds of letters and emails and made phone calls to Pulte with little progress. DHEC began its own investigation in September, 2007. The ad hoc Phase 5 Lagoon Committee representing the four neighborhoods was formed in September, 2008. Direct contact has been made with the governor’s office and various state, county and city officials and representatives to engage their assistance. As McCollough noted, “for Sun City residents this is about protecting their pocketbooks and property values.” If these problems are not completely and correctly resolved by Pulte, costs going forward will be substantial and could lead to future increases in our assessment fees and impact every property owner whether living on a lagoon or not.
Following the presentations, individual residents from all over Sun City came to the microphone for the next two and a half hours to speak passionately about their own lagoon and wetlands issues and frustrations with getting satisfaction from the developer. Many pleaded with DHEC to provide ongoing oversight and a timetable to compel Pulte to fix all of the identified problems. The Phase 5 Lagoon Committee and the many concerned residents who attended this important DHEC meeting have made a united and bold statement to both DHEC and Pulte. Patience is thin and our determination is strong. We will not back away from seeing this matter through to its rightful conclusion. Remember, the deadline for submitting written comments to DHEC following the meeting is February 9.
Blair Williams, DHEC-OCRM, 1362 McMillan Ave., Suite 400, Charleston, SC 29405
You may also read the full Phase 5 Lagoon Committee Report and Timothy Doyle Engineering Report on myschh.com/lagoons.
The members of the Phase 5 Lagoon Committee wish to thank all of the residents both within Phase 5 and from many other neighborhoods who attended this meeting to hear firsthand what the Stormwater Management System problems are all about. We thank all of those who patiently waited your turn at the microphone to speak your own minds. We will continue to pursue this effort and keep you informed on progress. Your support was awesome. THANKS!
Aster Fields ....................Basket Walk ..............Murray Hill ...............Water Lily Cove
Rick McCollough Chm. ....Howard Johnson .......Don Cammerata .......Bob Ferrante
John Ott .........................Bill Abel ......................Jim & Alice Lee .........Rocky Hughes