Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mitigation Resolution Put on Oconee Advisory Committee Agenda

Nov. 10 Set for Discussion

Abe Abouhamdan, chairman of the Oconee County Citizens Advisory Committee on Land Use and Transportation Planning, tonight agreed to put onto the Committee’s Nov. 10 agenda consideration of a resolution that could affect the way mitigation of stream and wetland damage in the county is handled in the future.

On May 5 the Oconee County Board of Commissioners referred a resolution drafted by attorney Katie Sheehan to the Land Use committee that would put the BOC on record with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as preferring mitigation in Oconee County or upstream from Oconee County for damage done to streams and wetlands in the county.

The board asked the advisory committee to report back to it once it has reviewed the resolution, which Sheehan drafted after talking with me and reading several blogs I had written on mitigation for construction of the planned Epps Bridge Centre on Epps Bridge Parkway.

Mitigation for damage done to streams on the site of that shopping center will be in Greene County south of Oconee.

Sheehan is a staff attorney at the River Basin Center in the Eugene P. Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia.

The Corps of Engineers has responsibility for protection of streams and wetlands in the state and requires mitigation of damage to them, usually through restoration of other streams and wetlands.

The state currently is constructing a roadway that will open up land adjacent to the Epps Bridge Centre and behind Lowe’s for development. That land contains streams that, if disturbed, also would require mitigation.

At the May 5 meeting, the Board of Commissioners forwarded the proposed resolution to the Land Use and Transportation Committee, which meets monthly. The resolution did not make it onto the agenda until I appeared before the Committee tonight and asked that it be scheduled for discussion. The Committee did not meet in July.

The Land Use and Transportation Committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the Community Center at Oconee Veterans Park on Hog Mountain Road west of Butler’s Crossing. The committee has 14 citizen members.

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