Sunday, February 25, 2007

Last Night's Stormwater Run-off Mires Intersection with Schöne Ansicht's Mud

While the intersection of 5th Avenue and Hume Street has had its share of ponding problems after storms, now it has the extra problem of silt run-off from the Schoene Ansicht project. Only 10 short days ago I warned that UP, LLC investors, Steve Yokley and Taurus McCain failed to respond to neighbors' requests to put up a silt fence or some barrier to keep debris on the construction site. Now the fall-out--after what was an unremarkable rain event in Nashville--is a muckety mess for neighbors to walk and wheel across. And once it dries, it will be a dust bowl blowing up in our faces.

The curb cuts--designed for wheelchair access--at both west corners of the intersection were choked this morning with an inch of mud and water. We have had Salemtown residents in the past who were wheelchair-dependent. Today they would not be able to cross the street at this intersection without a winch system to pull them out of the mess.

A stroll from 5th up Hume past the Schoene Ansicht construction site allows one to see a foot-wide channel adjacent to the street gutter where stormwater run-off picked up the silt and small gravel, carried it down hill and deposited it at 5th Avenue. Before the storm, freshly dug piles of dirt extended uneroded to the edge of the street. Now the run-off channel is clearly visible, as is the lost opportunity to save Salemtown the headache of a debris-clogged thoroughfare by putting up a simple, inexpensive, properly installed silt fence, which "can detain hundreds of pounds of sediment and water--even a concentrated flow" [source].

Indeed, there are other North End investors and developers who take their responsibility to the community seriously, even while they still intend to make money. A property at the corner of 5th and Monroe in Germantown has had silt fences up for weeks even with minimal construction. Moreover, the block on which the Germantown site sits seems flat. The potential for stormwater run-off damage to surrounding properties appears slight compared to that of Schoene Ansicht in Salemtown. Even so, Monroe developers installed it, and they communicated their intentions truthfully to the neighbors affected, which is a courtesy that Salemtown does not get from UP, LLC.

I do not know if the mud-caked curb cuts affect Metro's compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and I do not know whether UP, LLC is required by Metro Codes to clean up their 5th Avenue run-off silt drop. But I do know that the investors' failures to prevent easily preventable problems is just another black eye for them, and it is further indication to me that, relative to other property developers, they have little regard for the neighborhood outside of the money that they intend to make from it.

UPDATE: pictured on the right is a construction site on 6th Avenue North near the Buchanan Street intersection in Salemtown. Its developers have put up a silt fence to catch stormwater and debris from running off the property. At least they are making an effort.

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