The complaint alleges storm water runoff from upstream is damaging both the golf course and the river. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 19, 2011)
Click to see News 12's past coverage on the lawsuit:
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, June 25, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- A Monday night meeting scheduled in Evans for neighbors to air their concerns about an ongoing lawsuit has been canceled.
The Jones Creek Golf Course and the Savannah Riverkeeper are suing Columbia County and 12 other defendants, mostly area builders and developers.
The defense said any type of public meeting would taint the jury, so they canceled the meeting. They plan to reschedule in a couple of weeks.
Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus said if they went ahead with the meeting, it would cost the plaintiffs more money to pursue the lawsuit in the long run. She says they're trying to avoid "frivolous" costs.
The plaintiffs claim the county government failed to manage storm water runoff from construction upstream. They say faulty building practices are costing their neighborhood about $3.7 million.
The changes have affected residents like Sandra Griffin, who moved into Willow Lake at Jones Creek 12 years ago.
"We bought this lot to build on and there was the nicest little brook going back here, just running water constantly," Griffin said.
But that brook and lake are just about gone.
"Nothing's ever been done and we're losing our lake. It's just going to go away to nothing," she said.
"The lawsuit is continually ongoing, it's gone through the discovery phase now," Bonitatibus said.
The suit alleges 13 defendants, including Columbia County government, failed to manage storm water runoff from construction upstream. Bonitatibus says the law states that dirt that is removed or dirt that is disturbed on an area must stay on the site.
"On a really rainy day when we're getting a lot of the rain, you can watch the red tide coming in. It's just like death rolling through and it is death to this lake," Griffin said.
And it's that dirt, they say has filled up this lake.
"It's just sad to see that we know what's causing it. I mean, it's very obvious what's causing it and that the county is not willing to do anything about it when we know that it's killing a waterway," Bonitatibus said.
Now they're asking for your input.
"I can guarantee you anybody who knows about it in Willow Lake, they'll be overflowing that clubhouse," Griffin said. "We're angry right now; we're frustrated and we're angry."
News 12 spoke with the County Administrator Scott Johnson, who says they do not comment on pending litigation. Last October he told us they were reviewing the complaint as well as their management practices concerning storm water runoff.
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