The property on Worsham Avenue, a dead-end street in the 600 block of Marlboro Avenue, has a drainage ditch that dissects the two lots measuring 162 feet by 142 feet. Chief Building Official Brad Hayen told board members that building the duplexes would be challenging because the ditch could present problems. Hayen gave no recommendation on whether the lots should be rezoned from R-1 to R-2.
However, board member Larry Sewell, who also serves on the City Council, quickly moved to deny the request made by longtime builder Don Walker. “The last thing we need in East Ridge are more duplexes,” Sewell stated.
The motion was quickly seconded by Eric Avans. The vote to deny the request was unanimous. Board member Ron Renegar was absent from the meeting.
Mayor Brent Lambert, who sits as the chair of the appeals board, said that he agreed with Sewell, in regard to the city allowing more duplexes to be constructed.
Three property owners from the neighborhood were present at the meeting and opposed the rezoning. Bobby Bowling, who owns property a block south of Worsham on Louise Avenue, said Walker had built a number of duplexes (city officials said the entire street is zoned R-1 with the existing duplexes being considered non conforming) on the street more than 20 years ago. Bowling said the drainage ditch which continue south from Worsham has caused erosion problems on the back of his property.
Hayen told board members that it is unclear which entity has jurisdiction in dealing with the ditch _ sometimes referred to as a “blue line” by various government entities. He said at various times Hamilton County, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies concerned with stormwater runoff have weighed in on issues dealing with these “blue line” features. He also stated it is sometimes difficult in dealing with the ditches when they run through private property.
Mayor Lambert said the issue of the ditches in the city is confusing and needs to be discussed in the future.