In the April 16th meeting of the Knox County Commission a speaker in the Public Forum created a bit of a stir. In fact before it was all done voices were raised, apologies were given, and it became very clear that Knox County government doesn’t really care much about local people’s property rights.
The speaker that triggered this passionate discussion was Laura Cole. Betty Bean covered what happened in this Knox County Commission here in the Halls News Shopper News. What you couldn’t see in Betty’s story is the damage that has occurred to Ms. Cole’s property because of inadequate stormwater ordinances, pitiful development practices, and incompetent code enforcement from Knox County engineering. If this sounds bad then you should hear the excuses from Chris Granju of the Knox County engineering department. The only thing he did not say was that the sun was in his eyes. He did say he felt he was being “compelled to investigate myself”.
To make a long story short Mr. Granju had his hat handed to him by Knox County Commissioner Phil Ballard. Commissioner Ballard told Mr. Granju he had written the county engineering department three weeks ago about Ms. Cole’s problems and had heard nothing. Mr. Ballard asked Mr. Granju, “Is it a normal practice of your department not to report back to a commissioner?”
Commissioner Tony Norman apologised to Ms. Cole. The frustration he felt was clear in his voice.
So you might ask yourself what happened to Ms. Cole’s property that was so severe that she says, “My farm will be destroyed within a year, and I have few options. I can sell or I can sue … this is not a balance (between development and environmental concerns). This is destruction of one person’s property for another person’s profit.”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a movie must be worth much more.
The Laura Cole story via “Farmer” James McMillan and YouTube:
The Knox County Commission meeting Public Forum featuring Laura Cole via Publius9 and Channel9 of YouTube: