EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDOH FLOODING SQUABBLE
from Eyewitness News Online
Cabell County Property Owner Tangles With State Over Stormwater Runoff
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Dec. 5, 2012 2:04 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 5, 2012 2:17 PM EST
Baboursville , Cabell County , West Virginia
Joe Hutchinson said these pictures tell a story that has been going on for 14 years. Hutchinson claims that is how long inadequate and debris-blocked culverts under Aracoma Road in Barboursville have caused flooding on his property.
"Inadequate drainage underneath the road and cloggage (sic) of debris for the last 14 years that I have lived here," Hutchinson said. "And refusal of anybody being diplomatic and understanding and coming here to the site and doing what a taxpayer would ask of anybody from the Department of Highways."
Hutchinson said he was finally forced to go to court when the constant high water started damaging his yard and his home. He said an engineering firm studied the problem, and concluded the culverts under Aracoma Road are undersized and poorly maintained.
The report said frequent backups of stormwater drainage have damaged Hutchinson's property. The state responded by sending Hutchinson a letter that it intends to investigate and determine what part of his land and home may be taken by the power of eminent domain.
"The bottom line is that I have a dark cloud hanging over my head for years," Hutchinson said. "To be honest with you, I'm scared to death because any moment eminent domain has been threatened to me for the circuit court. So I'm scared. I'm scared I'm going to be homeless."
The state's letter to Hutchinson said the notice constitutes the initiation of a condemnation proceeding.
"We're taking a look at everything and unfortunately because it's an active litigation process we're just going to ride that out. But we think we can come up with some kind of resolution," Brent Walker, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Highways said.
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