Homeowners: Construction causing major damage to yard


HARRISON, Tenn. (WDEF) — As the local economy has expanded, more and more construction projects have popped up across the county. That, and the recent heavy rains have been causing drainage issues for many residents.

A developer is expanding a young neighborhood off Birchwood Pike in Harrison. Trees have been cleared for a cul-de-sac above property owned by the Cook family. The family claims poor planning has caused damage to their yards — while the contractor says the problem is just the sheer volume of water.

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“Before when we would have torrential rains, I would have tons of water. Now I have tons of mud,” said Ben Cook, who’s lived on the property for 47 years.

According to the Cooks, that mud has caused major damage in the last two months.

“Mud coming out over there, just running over my property killing my grass in my front yard,” Cook said. “It’s destroyed my driveway three different times. And I can’t get any satisfaction out of the county or the state that has given them permission to build the subdivision.”

The contractor, Jim Wright of James H. Wright Construction, says he’s “done everything the Cooks have wanted up to this point.” That includes laying new gravel for their driveway.

However, Ben’s sister Amanda says she’s still left wanting.

“I just want this stuff redone,” Amanda said. “I’m tired of stressing, and to some people flower beds are nothing but I do all these by myself, and I put hundreds of dollars along with hundreds of hours of work into my yard, and to me it’s something.”

Wright says the construction plan is designed to withstand a 10-year storm. The storm at the end of September dumped more that seven inches of rain, which classifies as a 100-year storm. He says this is the cause of the drainage, not poor planning or construction.

The Cooks just want their yards back.

“All these trees my dad has planted,” Cook remembered tearfully. “With this mud building up on the roots, I’m afraid it may start suffocating the trees and killing them out. And my dad’s not around anymore to plant them back again. I don’t want to lose them.”

Hamilton County’s water quality inspector Buddy Smith was on site earlier Wednesday but was unavailable for comment.

Wright says a storm pipe is planned to go in next week, and crews will begin planting grass seed this week — all in effort to help alleviate the drainage problem.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."