Originally created 02/21/99

Recounts Corps action after tornado 022199 - The Augusta Chronicle



The saga of the squeaky wheel continues. It's the tale of the unequal treatment by the Corps of Engineers of two similar Lake Thurmond-Lincoln County communities following the May 7 tornado devastation to adjacent Corps-managed public land. After nine months of virtual silence, the Corps descended from its place of supreme bureaucratic domination and autocratic decision-making to impose, without consultation, its restoration plan on the Lincoln County homeowners of Plantation Point.

The Corps is now in a frenzy to get this done "yesterday." A letter was sent to Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga., followed by a request to the Plantation Point Homeowner Association for an on-site meeting on Jan. 28 to explain the restoration plan. On Jan. 29 the Corps sent a letter via fax confirming its plan.

Rep. Norwood wrote the Corps requesting no action on the plan pending a Feb. 16 meeting.

The Corps Restoration Plan for the damaged land adjacent to Plantation Point is fatally flawed because it:

-- Does not provide equal treatment for Corps-managed public land adjacent to two similar communities damaged by the same event.

-- Does not allow replanting of the damaged area, because the rubble is two to five feet high.

-- Does not restore the shore-line for recreational boaters en-joying the Lincoln County shoreline.

-- Does not remove the severe fire hazard observed by a Georgia state forester on Jan. 25. The dry debris would fuel a fire that could not be contained within the Corps managed damaged area.

-- Does not restore nature trails maintained and enjoyed by our community.

-- Does not remove the rubble that is a developmental disincentive for the continued growth of our community.

-- Does not remove the detrimental impact on the property values for Lincoln County taxpayers.

-- Does not restore the 40-acre ecological area treasured for its natural beauty by Lincoln County boaters and property owners.

The Corps, like the infamous inner city absentee landlord, is unwilling to hear the voices of their neighbors, the property owners of Lincoln County. ...

Pray that the Corps hearing impairments were cured by the Feb. 16 meeting and first-hand view of the area with Rep. Norwood, Lincoln County Chairman Tommy Drew and Plantation Point property owners. Col. Joe Schmitt has promised a final decision within two weeks. ... We hope it is a decision we can live with.

Tom Bahr, Lincolnton