Members of the Loudon County Commission reversed
last month’s decision regarding adoption of a water quality
In December, six members of the commission voted against passing
the resolution, which has been mandated by the state. Michael
Atchley with the Tennessee Department of Environment and
Conservation Division of Water Pollution Control responded by
contacting County Mayor Estele Herron and informing her the
state would be fining the county $10,000 if the regulations were
not approved in January.
With Commissioners Don Miller and Austin Shaver absent Monday
night, the commission voted unanimously, 8-0 to pass the
Miller previously voted to pass the resolution and Shaver voted
against it in December. “It’s the same document that was on the
agenda last month,” County Planning Director Russ Newman said to
the commission prior to the vote. Those changing their votes
include Brian Jenkins, Harold Duff, Earlena Maples, David Meers
and Roy Bledsoe, who each voted against the resolution in
Votes by commissioners Steve Harrelson, Sharon Yarbrough and Bob
Franke remained unchanged in favor of the resolution.
Every member of the commission has at some point in recent
months expressed their reluctancy and disapproval of the state
mandate. The buffer is required as part of the county’s National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, which requires
communities operating a small municipal separate storm sewer
system (MS4) to regulate the discharge of pollutants.
The passed resolution uses the minimum requirements set by the
state. They include a buffer with a minimum width of 30 feet
measured horizontally from the top of the bank for drainage
areas less than one square mile and 60 feet for those with
drainage areas greater than one square-mile.
Commissioners argued the requirements essentially take property
owners land without compensation.
The resolution only affects a relatively small portion of the
county near Lenoir City where the population density is high
enough to force the requirements. It also only affects new
development. Land used for agricultural purposes is exempt.