Lawyers halt public meeting on Jones Creek lawsuit

Monday, June 25, 2012 7:17 PM
Last updated 10:40 PM
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A town hall meeting to discuss a lawsuit over property damage and environmental issues at Jones Creek Golf Club was abruptly canceled Monday after the defendants’ lawyers objected.

“To avoid any legal issues with the court or accusations from the defendants, we believe it is better to postpone the scheduled meeting for tonight,” said fliers handed out to dozens of residents who had gathered at the clubhouse.

The 175-page lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court last fall by Jones Creek Investors, the owners of the 195-acre golf course and related amenities, and by the environmental group Savannah Riverkeeper Inc.

Named as defendants were Columbia County, CSX Transportation, which owns culverts and embankments that are alleged to have failed and contributed to the erosion damage, the owners of the Marshall Square project in Evans, the owners of Krystal River Commercial Park and Jones Creek Partners, which developed high-density townhomes near the golf course.

The townhome project, known as Willow Lake Phase II, involves 10.8 acres, 9.3 acres of which were cleared to accommodate 43 lots for single-family homes adjacent to Willow Lake, a 6.3-acre pond that provides irrigation for the golf course and is also an aesthetic amenity for Jones Creek, the complaint said.

Since the townhome project began, “discharges of eroded soils, sediments, sediment-laden storm water, rock, sand, dirt, debris and other pollutants into Willow Lake have increased, resulting in significant accumulations of sediment and repeated instances of turbid or visually impacted water,” the complaint said.

The plaintiffs contend that poor engineering design, lax enforcement of the federal Clean Water Act and other misdeeds associated with the Willow Lake town-home project have allowed unchecked erosion to damage property and pollute the area’s streams and lakes with silt and litter.

Such damages are in excess of $3.77 million and continue to mount because the problems remain uncorrected, said the complaint, in which the plaintiffs are seeking corrective action and damages; they have demanded a jury trial.

Speakers at Monday’s meeting were to be Jones Creek attorney Martin Shelton and Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus.

“What was intended to be an open discussion to address your questions about the current conditions of the golf course has been mischaracterized as a press conference,” the flier said.

Comments (13) Add comment
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eb97
835
Points
eb97 06/25/12 - 09:18 pm
6
1
Wonder how much money has

Wonder how much money has padded hands during all of this misdirected construction that has caused these problems. Happens all the time in Augusta with new construction.
Does anyone do their jobs with high standards and quality anymore?

Dixieman
15306
Points
Dixieman 06/25/12 - 09:25 pm
1
5
See?

I have been warning everyone here about the plaintiff organization which is a job- and development-killer leftist organization, not a smiling let's put on our LL Bean boots and clean up the river. Now do y'all believe me??

allhans
23761
Points
allhans 06/25/12 - 09:47 pm
4
1
Well, heck. it's not like

Well, heck. it's not like the person approving these things leave their desk to have a look :)

justputtin
1414
Points
justputtin 09/04/12 - 08:46 am
6
1
Come on dixieman

I'm ready for football.

Dixieman
15306
Points
Dixieman 06/26/12 - 12:16 am
2
2
Not personal

Nothing personal about my dislike of this organization's politics and economically harmful policies. Never met any of its officers. I just like using humor and sarcasm in all my posts.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 06/26/12 - 07:27 am
1
4
The lake is certainly more

The lake is certainly more shallow, but all lakes end up that way eventually. It is no one's fault nor is it the lack of law. Time and gravity and progress mixed together to cause erosion that stops at a dam. No need for suing anybody. If you want the lake deeper then dredge it out. If you don't want to pay for it, then don't dredge it. The fact is that lakes eventually have to be maintained. You can not expect environmental laws to act like a Brita water filter.

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 06/26/12 - 07:50 am
5
0
Point

I think the point, DuhJudge, is that the plaintiffs want the defendants to pay for the dredging. I do find it strange that the "dozens of residents" meekly went back home after defendants lawyers told them they shouldn't have their meeting. It used to be a free country where people were allowed peaceably to assemble. No more, I guess.

seenitB4
88080
Points
seenitB4 06/26/12 - 08:47 am
2
0
Problems at Jones

Problems at Jones Creek....who woulda thought...

allhans
23761
Points
allhans 06/26/12 - 09:30 am
0
3
What DuhJudge said....

What DuhJudge said....

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 06/26/12 - 12:45 pm
4
0
It isn't just cut-and-dry

It isn't just cut-and-dry like that. I believe this all will come down to whether there is evidence that development upstream was done negligently. If not, its not going to be easy to get compensation for an indirect, unintended result of progress. Somebody's lawyer should be digging up verbage that connects a developer to some responsibility over unintentional but damaging effects their work has created. I'm sure there's got to be a good amount documented with regard to detrimental changes to the geography upstream. If the Jone's Creek sub was just built and then they build upstream and the lake gets silted out, there can't be an issue. But given that Jone's Creek has been there for so many years without that specific issue and now within a year or three, it's looking like Sandbar Ferry flood plain, I think there may be something there to litigate.

DMPerryJr
1698
Points
DMPerryJr 06/26/12 - 12:46 pm
1
4
Saul Alinksy

This is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. There is a whole chapter about golf courses.

Little Lamb
46392
Points
Little Lamb 06/26/12 - 01:46 pm
4
1
Erosion & Sedimentation

Well, the developers had to notify the county government of their intent to develop, and in that notification they had to submit documents showing how they were going to minimize erosion and mitigate downstream sedimentation. The paperwork is in place over at Ronald Reagan Drive. If the plaintiffs can show that the actual development was done not according to the plans, then they may have a case.

Jake
32764
Points
Jake 06/26/12 - 05:45 pm
1
0
Initial member

I joined Jones Creek Golf Course when if first opened up in the mid-80's. There were problems then with the course and it's drainage/erosion system. I still have the photo's of the first round I played there showing ruts of erosion on #4, #5, #7, & #9. There is no way that the existing creek was not impacted and the man made pond on #2 was just that, man made. I am not sure where "Willow Lake" is unless they are talking about the pond on #2 or the larger pond on #11.

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