NC coastal developer agrees to stop pumping water into ditch, flooding nearby properties

North Carolina news

CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Hurricane Dorian left behind significant damage, and residents across the region are just trying to get back on track. But sometimes helping yourself could hurt others.

This story is about disputing neighbors making amends, involving a developer and neighbors of Old Jury Road.

Cellphone camera video shows the pumping of water Monday morning from a retention pond belonging to a developer into a ditch, which belongs to Karen Caldwell and her neighbors.

“His retention pond is draining purposely into our ditch, which is causing us to have massive flooding in our yard.”

The video shows an intentional breach in the black silk fence, which is allowing water to flow into Caldwell’s ditch. It is clear that the water is being pumped onto the other side of the silk fence which is on the property line.

“The pump was on this morning and was pumping everything into the ditches and then back here to the farm field,” Caldwell says pointing to farmland around the retention pond.

Here’s why that is important: during Hurricane Dorian, Caldwell and her neighbor’s property flooded, and she has the pictures to prove it.  

Over a cellphone we connected Caldwell to property developer Justin Old

“We will make sure it does not happen again. I can assure you of that,” Old said over the phone.  

Caldwell answered, “Well, I appreciate that Justin, and your not knowing about that, but it has been going on.”  

She told Old about the flooding, “There is no way for the water to drain. It is sitting there pumping onto our property.”

Caldwell is so upset about it she met with Currituck County Commissioner Owen Etheridge, who sent the complaint to the country manager.

“We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience first and foremost, we found out about this 30-40 minutes ago,” Old, who is developing the 
Glenmoore community, said over the phone.

We actually heard the pump turn off while we were there, and Currituck County determined Old was in violation of his special use permit, which does not allow him to pump water out of the retention pond into other peoples’  ditches.  

We asked Old about that. “We certainly don’t want to be bad neighbors to anyone or cause additional flooding that is not our intent. It is unacceptable to us, and I will get to the bottom of it,” Old said. 

We also asked Old to explain what the solution is when his holding pond can’t hold the runoff from the property. “We are installing the drainage system and that is part of it being installed correctly. I agree it shouldn’t be pumped onto someone else’s property.” Caldwell answered “No, it should never have happened, but what are you going to do as you develop more and more?”

After the phone call, Karen Caldwell asked for Justin Old to come walk the property with her, which he agreed to do.

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