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Sep. 20, 2020
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Compromise met on erosion ordinance

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
If Lake Lanier advocates had not rallied to reach out to Hall County Commissioners in mid-August, meaningful compromises may not have been reached in a proposed change to county ordinances regarding erosion and siltation on construction sites.
 
“We can say 100 percent that the significant number of people who contacted their commissioners made the difference in our reaching a compromise with the commission,” said Jennifer Flowers, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association. “We sent out two email appeals to our members to write emails, letters and call and help block the originally proposed changes to the ordinance. Without each person’s help, we were concerned that the ordinances might have been relaxed and allowed increased erosion and siltation into the lake.” 
 
The original proposed ordinance change would have increased the limits from 20 acres to 50 acres at a time to be disturbed without adding better protections.
 
Between the first reading of the proposed changes in late July until the final reading and vote at the commissioners’ August 13 meeting, lake advocates including the Lake Lanier Association and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, plus developer-engineer Brian Rochester of Rochester & Associates Inc., Gainesville, the two sides reached a compromise.
 
Working from a list of 13 best practices for construction site management developed by Hall County, sites between 20 and 50 acres must follow at least two of the best practices. Sites in excess of 50 acres are required to meet at least three of the best practices. In addition, jobsites in excess of 20 acres that require double rows of silt fence must install hay bales below the double silt fence.
 
“If it is adjacent to Lake Lanier, double fencing and hay bales will be required,” Flowers said. “we were hoping they would be even more stringent – we realize that we are headed in the right direction toward protecting Lake Lanier and our state’s other invaluable water resources. 
 
“Each party asked for more than it got and got less than it asked for, but in the big picture we reached a workable compromise,” she said. “The fact that Lake Lanier and its membership had a meaningful place at the table demonstrates the power of those of us who stand as advocates and a voice for Lake Lanier.”

Posted online 8/28/20
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