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February 4, 2014

Landowners address commissioners over dirt dumping

NORMAN — Future city-county road projects where dirt and debris are removed by county employees and placed onto private property will be done differently, County Commissioner Darry Stacy said Monday.

“From now on, when we are removing the debris, I will make sure that we have a written contract with the city on the removal,” Stacy, District 2, said at Monday’s commissioners meeting. “We look forward to many more partnerships with the city.”

His statement followed comments by two landowners in southeast Cleveland County. County crews hauled dozens of loads of dirt and vegetative debris from work on East Lindsey Street to fill in a ravine on Dan Hatfield’s property on Cedar Lane between 60th Avenue Southeast and 72nd Avenue Southeast.

Stacy has said the ravine was a potential safety issue and the county saved nearly $70,000 by dumping it there instead of hauling it to a landfill in south Oklahoma City.

“I have no problem with what the county has done to date,” Hatfield said.

His neighbor, George Dotson, however, raised concerns about the dumping of debris into a stream bed and potential erosion downstream on his property.

“The work was done entirely on private property belonging to a relative of county employees and required that trees and brush be removed and pushed into the waterway along with the fill,” Dotson read in a letter to commissioners.

Dotson said no engineering study was done before the dirt was dumped.

Commissioners this past week approved a policy that allows dirt and debris that would be headed to a landfill to be dumped on the property of a willing landowner who has signed a waiver of liability.

Chairman Rusty Sullivan, District 3, had tried to amend the new policy to prohibit dumping on the property of county employees or their families. Stacy and District 1 Commissioner Rod Cleveland said they saw no need to exclude employees and their family members.

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