LANCASTER — In a repeat visit to the Fiscal Court, Garrard County resident Denny Ford came before magistrates Monday regarding a water runoff issue he faces on his property on U.S. 27 near Camp Nelson.
Ford said he appeared before the court in August seeking help after the owners of Rocky Top Shell station allegedly altered the landscape of their property. This was done by raising the grade on the area behind their building for the purpose of their septic system, Judge-Executive John Wilson explained. According to Ford, this altered the flow of the water, forcing it to run on to his property, Old 27 BBQ.
To create an entrance to the Shell station, the owners also altered the ditch line, Ford and his son, Cammle, who is an engineer, allege. The alteration causes water to flow from the property at Rocky Top onto the county’s right of way and the highway, before crossing onto Ford’s property.
The Fords brought with them bids for engineers to examine the property and water runoff and asked the county to cover the costs of the engineers. Denny Ford said he would be willing to pay if the engineer chosen by the county concludes that it is a civil matter.
Wilson explained that the county could get into legal trouble by spending money on something that is not a county issue.
“That’s the only holdup on this whole thing. If it’s county-related, this isn’t necessary, we will come out there,” Wilson said. “Is this county-related?”
Wilson explained to magistrates that he is “fine with it” if they want to hire an engineer.
Ronnie Lane, the magistrate for Ford’s district, and Magistrate Joe Leavell agreed with Wilson, stressing that it appeared to likely be a civil matter.
When asked how the county caused the problem, Ford alleged that the problems in the water were caused because county building examiners failed to properly act in preventing the runoff issues.
“They turned their back on what was going on,” Denny Ford said. One example he shared with the court, was that the certificate of occupancy for the store was granted 28 months before the property was first inspected.
“The issue is, the water is running from the Shell station on to county property, from county property on to us. The way they constructed the Shell station there, they’re putting water on to the county property. The county property is then dumping it on to us,” said Cammle Ford.
He said part of the issue resulted because Rocky Top Shell put the drain, after the fact, on the county property and blocked the ditch line in the county’s right of way.
“They’ve changed your property, and they’ve created a problem that’s caused you to be in the middle of a mess,” Cammle Ford told magistrates.
County officials already have had Paul Travis, a land surveyor who contracts with the Transportation Cabinet and has worked with Garrard County before, visit the site.
According to Judge-Executive Wilson, Travis agreed with Ford that the problems were clearly created because of the change in topography at the station; however, Travis stated it is not a county issue.
The Fords said a certified engineer should be hired to look at the situation.
Magistrate Lane explained that he had offered to dig out a better drain line, if Ford would allow Lane to use his backhoe. However, Ford questioned why he would allow Lane to use his backhoe on a matter he thinks should be handled by the county.
When questioned, County Attorney Mark Metcalf said he initially thought a certified engineer should be consulted on the matter and had advised the court and the Fords in such a manner. However, he understood the county’s choice in asking Travis, after hearing of his experience and expertise.