Homeowner upset about runoff, town and state say developer did everything by the book

WAXHAW, N.C. — Ray Cossart’s house is on a rolling piece of land. He worried about runoff but got even more concerned last September after the Town of Waxhaw approved plans for Blythe Mill Town Homes, which will include 120 units near Waxhaw Parkway.

The developer started clearing the land, which is just up the hill from Cossart’s property.

“There’s a waterfall that forms every time it rains,” he said. And he says not just water. “It’ll turn red with mud,” he added.

It runs into his creek like it’s supposed to, but so much so that he feels the creek has gotten deeper. “I used to be able to walk across the creek midway here. [Now] I can only walk across on either end,” he explained. “I’m not happy.”

The town told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that the developer followed the erosion rules, and it hadn’t “identified any … violations.” In fact, the state even checked it out in person and also told Stoogenke the company did everything right, and that “the measures were functioning as intended.”

It seemed like the issue was dead in the water until Cossart emailed Stoogenke recently, saying the developer “put up more erosion control after [Action 9] got involved.” More specifically, he says the builder installed more fencing.

Looking back, one problem was that the area received more rain than usual. According to Channel 9 meteorologists, the average rainfall for Waxhaw in December and January is typically around 3.5 inches (3.57 inches and 3.49 inches, respectively). However, this winter, it was 6.32 inches and 7.27 inches, respectively.

In addition to more rain, the rain has been hitting at the same time in more powerful storms. “Fewer rain days, but bigger events,” Channel 9 Meteorologist Madi Bagget said, which can cause more runoff and damage.

The developer, Eastwood Homes, exchanged emails with Stoogenke but didn’t provide any official statement in time for this report. But, again, the town and state say the company did everything by the book.

So, what can you do when the ‘book’ may not be good enough?

- Take pictures or video of the issue without trespassing.

- Try to negotiate with the developer to take extra steps to deal with the problem.

- In theory, you can fight to get the rules changed, but that takes time and can be an uphill battle, unlike the runoff.

VIDEO: Homeowners ask county to investigate builder’s work