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Muddy Creek Restoration Project Minutes from Public Meeting

Central United Methodist Church
May 7, 2008; 7:00 PM

Attendees

Jennifer Barker, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS)
Julia Millea, City of Charlotte Real Estate
Laura Rushing, City of Charlotte Real Estate
Chris Yow, Michael Baker Engineering, Inc. (Baker)
Lydia Hucks, Property Owner, 6416 Reddman Road
A. Hucks, Property Owner, 1040 Cedarwood Lane
M. Munoz, Property Manager, 5500 Executive Center Drive
M. Davis, Property Manager, Sagebrush Apartments
L. Godfrey, Property Owner, 6042 Sunrise Court
Renee Wright, Property Owner, 6409 Reddman Road
Mr. and Mrs. Saints, Property Owner, 1103 Cedarwood Lane

Project staff was introduced.

Jennifer Barker, Project Manager for CMSWS, discussed the following:   

  • Meeting Purpose:  The purpose of the meeting is to present the preliminary construction drawings and begin real estate acquisition.     
  • The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Utility:  The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water utility was established in 1993.  Each property owner's water bill includes a storm water fee.  This storm water fee is used to fund many Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services (CMSWS) initiatives.  The City's half of CMSWS implements three general types of projects:  maintenance projects, flood control capital projects, and water quality capital projects.  Although there are some flood control elements in this project, the Muddy Creek Project is primarily a water quality project which includes stream restoration/enhancement, wetland restoration/enhancement and pond restoration.  Storm Water Services has established a "mitigation bank".  Generally, this bank allows the County and City to mitigate (or compensate) for their impacts to streams and wetlands (i.e. as a result of roadway, school, airport, etc. construction...) via payment to the City's mitigation bank in lieu of payment to the State's mitigation bank.  These funds can then be used to fund water quality projects within the City instead of outside the City or the County.  The Muddy Creek Project is primarily funded by the sale of mitigation credits; storm water utility fees will supplement this funding source. 
  • Project Phases:  Phases of a typical water quality project include planning, design, permitting, easement acquisition, contractor bidding, construction, contractor warranty, and monitoring. 
  • Citizen Involvement: Citizens have had and will continue to have many opportunities to be involved with this project.  Questionnaires were sent to the residents when the project was initiated requesting feedback about any observed storm drainage problems in the area.  A Planning Phase public meeting was held in September 2006; existing conditions and proposed improvement were presented.  This is the Design Phase Public meeting.  It is the second and final public meeting; CMSWS requested feedback from the residents regarding the actual design of the project.  Property owners directly affected by the project will be contacted by Julie Millea, City Real Estate Services, during easement acquisition and can provide comments about this project to her.  Also, general CMSWS information or additional inquiries about the status of this project can be obtained by visiting the project website, or calling the Project Manager, Jennifer Barker, at 704-432-0963.
  • Project History:  There were two primary factors that were key to identifying the Muddy Creek Project area as a high-priority water quality project:  1) Very poor water quality and stream stability; and 2) multiple publicly owned properties along both project streams.  Information from citizens via 311 (previously 336-RAIN) call-ins was also a factor when identifying the Muddy Creek Site as a potential project. 

Chris Yow of Baker Engineering discussed the following:

  • Existing Conditions:  The existing conditions of the project area include poor water quality from runoff and stream bank erosion.  There are also frequent house, street and yard flooding conditions within the project area. 
  • Alternative Analysis:  The project team evaluated two or more alternatives (or improvement options) and then selected the preferred alternative for each project site.  For example, the alternatives considered for Reddman Road culvert included removing the existing culvert, replacing the existing culvert with a new culvert, and replacing existing culvert with a pedestrian/bicycle bridge.  After considering the project objectives and design criteria for this site, replacing the existing culvert with a pedestrian/bicycle bridge was selected as the preferred alternative.
  • Design Process: After the preferred alternatives for each project site were determined, Baker Engineering began preparing the construction documents for this project.  These documents are currently being finalized. 
  • Permit Application:   Environmental permits will need to be obtained prior to construction.  The applications for these permits will be submitted to the appropriate agencies this summer.

Jennifer Barker also discussed the remaining project phases:

  • Easement Acquisition:  Easements serve two purposes for this project.  One, they allow the City to enter private property to construct the improvements.  Two, they protect the restored streams, enhanced wetlands, and new vegetation planted by the City.  Easement acquisition typically takes 8 to 12 months.  If the property owners assist with timely completion of easement acquisitions, construction may be able to begin in the spring of 2009.  Otherwise, construction would begin in spring of 2010.
  • Bid/Award:  After the construction documents are finalized and all easements and permits are obtained, the project will be advertised for contractor bids.  City staff will recommend City Council award the construction contract to the lowest responsible bidder.  The bid/award process typically takes about 5 months.
  • Construction:  This project will be constructed with the following general construction phases:  clearing, wetland and pond grading, planting within the wetlands and pond, grading along the streams, and then planting along the streams.  Because of construction sequencing, construction must begin during spring...2009 or 2010 will depend on how quickly the easement acquisition phase is completed.  Construction for this project is expected to last approximately 18 months.  (It was not discussed but should be noted that the contractor is to work within the easement areas acquired by the City on each property.  If the contractor works out an agreement with an individual property owner to allow them to work or stage equipment/materials outside the easement acquired by the City, that agreement is solely between the owner and the contractor.) 
  • Warranty:  The contractor is to provide a one year warranty on the work and materials they provided during construction.
  • Monitoring:  As part of the City's mitigation bank requirements, the project area will be monitored for five years after construction is completed.  The intent of the monitoring phase is to ensure that the project site as constructed is performing as designed.

Jennifer Barker concluded the presentation and opened the meeting to general project questions:

  • Renee Wright (paraphrase) asked what type of rights would the property owners have within the conservation easement (CE).  Jennifer Barker explained in general what they could expect.  Ms. Wright then asked if the greenway would be restricted within the CE.  Jennifer Barker stated that the easement language would not prohibit the County from constructing a greenway.  If, however, the County did in the future pursue a greenway project, they would have to approach each property owner directly affected by the greenway and obtain a greenway easement just as the City has to obtain easements for this restoration project.  Ms. Barker further clarified that the conservation easements being acquired by the City will not authorize the County to construct a greenway nor will they authorize public access on private property; it simply does not prohibit a greenway.
  • Renee Wright, and Mr. and Mrs. Saints asked several questions concerning the pedestrian bridge at Reddman Road.  Ms. Barker stated that the bridge would be 10' wide and protected by a bollards on both sides.  
  • Ms. Davis asked how long construction would take at specific project sites.  Jennifer Barker explained that because of the general construction phases (clearing, wetland/pond grading, wetland/pond planting, stream grading and stream planting), it is possible that specific project sites with both wetland/pond and stream improvements could see construction activity throughout the construction phase (approximately 18 months).
  • Mrs. Saints expressed concern about the visibility of the bollards at night.  She went on to say that several car accidents have occurred in this area due to low visibility of the existing guardrail.  Jennifer Barker stated that she would speak with Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) regarding this.

After conclusion of the general question and answer session, the meeting was adjourned and some property owners stayed for small group discussion.  These discussions included:

  • Type of planting within the conservation easement.
  • The size of the conservation easement areas.
  • Flooding from Campbell Creek.