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Supervisors approve Pebble Creek, disagree on dam

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval for phase two of Pebble Creek Subdivision at their meeting yesterday.

The preliminary approval was given on condition that the developer continue with the same repairs that were contingent upon the passing of Pebble Creek phase one.

One of the major conditions of approval concerns neighboring Spring Lake and the levee and dam that separates The Lakes Subdivision from Pebble Creek.

In 2016, the land below the dam was deemed a high hazard area, due to the liability the developments would face if the levee failed.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency recommended foundations of homes in the flood area be built with at least a three-foot crawl space due to the development being below a high hazard dam. According to county engineer Larry Britt, who recommended the proposal for approval, there are eight homes within the flood area.

Supervisor Kevin Frye said he was in favor a conditional preliminary approval of the plat, but not without a contribution to fortify the levee from Brantley Cox, Pebble Creek’s developer.

“One of the concerns from the homeowner’s association is, if something were to happen, that the neighborhood and homeowners in The Lakes won’t be liable for any damage,” Frye said. “It seems like, obviously the smart thing to do would be to fix it before we have any problem. The developer has indicated he will contribute $25,000, but he hasn’t done that yet.”

The $25,000 in question was first brought up in the late 2016 meetings, but Eric Jones, of Williams Engineering, says it was an offer, not an outright promise. Cox was absent from the meeting, so Williams spoke on his behalf.

“Mr. Cox has talked to the homeowners association about giving them $25,000. He said it was a standing offer, but as far as I know, he hasn’t been approached by the HOA again since then,” Williams said. “He didn’t say he was going to do it. He said he made the offer to do it, and they haven’t accepted it, because there were some other negotiations besides him just giving them $25,000.”

Supervisor Chad McLarty said he felt the levee in question had “no bearing” on the board of supervisors.

“Lafayette County does not own or maintain that levee,” McLarty said. “The county is not responsible for that levee, and this is between Mr. Cox and the HOA.”

However, Frye dissented, saying a break in the levee could make the situation a problem for the board of supervisors.   

“Would you approve, in your district, a new subdivision under a levee without the subdivision contributing to fixing what the state has already said is required?” Frye said. ““It absolutely has bearing on Lafayette County if the levee breaks.”

After much discussion, McLarty stated his solution to the problem and added that homeowners are aware of the danger, saying the high hazard status is on the deeds of the homes.

“If you want to simplify it, drain the lake,” Mclarty said.

The motion for preliminary approval of Pebble Creek phase two was approved in a four to one vote, without reaching further agreement on dam repair.

At press time, a representative for The Lakes HOA was unavailable for comment.