The runoff runaround Owner wants driveway spared NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

August 18, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Manchester resident Donald K. Becker Sr. said that runoff from a town street has been eroding his driveway since 1986, and he wants someone to take responsibility for fixing it.

The driveway connects to the end of Crown Circle, at the bottom of a hill. During storms, Mr. Becker said, runoff from Crown Circle washes out the gravel driveway, creating gullies in it.

"This was so bad you couldn't drive on it," he said. "We had to drive on the grass."

Mr. Becker said he has already added about six truckloads of gravel to the driveway, at $250 a truckload.

He said that three years ago he tried to fix the problem by pouring a concrete apron at the end of the driveway to divert the water, but it didn't work.

Mr. Becker said he has contacted Carroll County and the town of Manchester about the problem.

"Everybody has told everybody else what has to be done," he said, "but nobody wants to do anything about it."

Mr. Becker said that when the land was developed, it was mistakenly treated as an off-conveyance.

Before 1989, Carroll County lots created through the off-conveyance process did not have to go through the county approval process, which includes a review of storm water management provisions, said Clay Black, development systems supervisor for the Carroll County Bureau of Development Review.

Mr. Becker said that the county should have required the town of Manchester or the developer, F. Douglas Harrell, to address the runoff problem.

But he said he was told that, even if the county did make a mistake years ago, the county no longer has jurisdiction because the lot and the street are within the town of Manchester.

Mr. Harrell said he had no comment other than, "I followed the total rules of the town and the county, and everything's legal."

Manchester Town Manager Terry L. Short said Monday the town has no legal responsibility for the problem.

He said Mr. Becker built his driveway after the street, Crown Circle, was put in, and he should have known what the local conditions were.

"He should have seen that it had that [problem] before he bought there," Mr. Short said.

Mr. Becker said he has written to Manchester Mayor Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime Jr. three times about the erosion problem, but received no response.

However, Mr. Warehime said Monday that Mr. Becker had received a response -- from Manchester Town Attorney Charles O. Fisher Jr.

Mr. Fisher wrote to Mr. Becker May 19, Mr. Short said.

Manchester Town Council member John A. Riley, who has oversight responsibility for town roads, said Monday, "It was put in the attorney's hands, and that was the end of it."

"He threatened to sue us," Mr. Short said. "As soon as he threatens to sue us, it goes to the attorney."

Mr. Becker, a firefighter in Westfield, Baltimore County, said that if he must, he will fix the problem himself next spring.

He said it will cost $1,200 to $1,500 to divert the runoff through a drain under his driveway and out into a channel lined with rocks.

Mr. Becker said, "I don't want anything elaborate. I just want the water not to wash my driveway out, so I can get it paved."

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