The Hines’ battle to save the Earth from greedy land developers, or, at least, the small corner of the Earth that is Spring Lake Estates, continues. A few weeks ago we were surprised and dismayed to learn that the Marion County Hearings Officer had overruled herself on the Nielsen’s lot partitioning case. We won the first appeal, as the Hearings Officer found that the Nielsen’s hydrologist had failed to demonstrate that this partitioning wouldn’t harm the long-term sustainability of groundwater in the surrounding area.
When the Nielsen’s appealed this denial, the Marion County Board of Commissioners remanded the case back to the hearings officer. We felt that our facts were solid, as they are, so we didn’t spend the money to have our hydrologist restate what had already been persuasively stated to the Hearings Officer. Unfortunately, the Nielsen’s hydrologist twisted things around to such a degree, and made enough specious arguments, to apparently convince the Hearings Officer that recalculated water balance figures (meaning, how much water is being recharged to the aquifer from rainfall, after homeowners use up their share) made sense.
Well, the figures didn’t make sense. And we consider it our duty to point this out to the County Commissioners. So it was a pleasure (not financially, but ethically) for Laurel to troop down to the Courthouse this afternoon, $500 check in hand, to file an appeal of this egregious decision.
Included with our appeal are four pages of highly persuasive arguments and data from our own hydrologists, Malia and Greg Kupillas, demonstrating that the analysis by the Nielsen’s hydrologist, Nick Coffey, is all washed up, so to speak. However, it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and it doesn’t take a hydrologist to tell that our area has severe groundwater problems. The number of well deepenings and replacements testifies to this.
But we needed to show the County Commissioners, who will hear the appeal (if they accept it), that licensed hydrologists concur with the Hines’ conclusions about why the Nielsen partitioning should be denied. We much appreciate the financial support from several neighbors who are contributing to the cost of this appeal. The truth is on our side, and eventually we will prevail. While this is just one lot (or two, if the partitioning were to be approved), we’ve come to see this case as a reflection of what is right, and wrong, about the whole way people relate to the environment.
Think globally, act locally. We’re trying to do just that. The battle continues.