By DOTTY NIST
Walton County commissioners recently complied with their legal counsel’s request to authorize seeking an injunction against a borrow pit operation.
On Nov. 10, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) voted to authorize Mike Burke, county attorney, to file an injunction to stop mining operations at the Thomas Hicks borrow pit off Ed Brown Road in the Rock Hill Road area. The vote came after the commissioners heard that Walton County Code Enforcement had exhausted its efforts to get the owner to comply with county code.
According to information provided by code enforcement at the Nov. 10 meeting:
There had been a consent agreement in 2002 between owner Thomas Hicks and the county to resolve alleged violations on the pit property. These included the absence of a development order for the business and operation of a borrow pit in an Estate Residential land use area contrary to code provisions.
The consent agreement allowed operation to continue on a 12-acre parcel of disturbed land within the pit property. The agreement regarding those 12 acres was renewed in 2007, to remain in effect through 2010, in order to allow Hicks time to file for a large-scale amendment. The purpose of the amendment was a change to the land use classification of the property so that the borrow pit operation would be an allowable use.
In October 2008 Hicks was charged with alleged violations for sand mining outside the limits of the agreed-to 12-acre parcel and in connection with crushing of concrete and storage of concrete and debris on the pit property, resulting in stop work orders being imposed. In late October, code enforcement reported posted stop work orders being removed from the property and thrown into nearby woods.
Jack Rhodes was present at the Nov. 10 BCC meeting to represent the pit operation. Rhodes provided no information but posed a question to the commissioners in reference to the property owner having been notified to appear before the Walton County Code Enforcement Board regarding the alleged violations on Nov. 20. Rhodes asked if he would still be required to respond to that notice to appear.
Burke stated that as a result of the county seeking the injunction the case would be withdrawn from the code enforcement board’s Nov. 20 agenda.
The BCC motion to authorize seeking an injunction was approved by unanimous vote.