Ben Morgan, PE, CFM
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Drainage Easement Policy Common Homeowner Questions Regarding Pipes and Ditches On Your Property FAQ
Owning a property that contains drainage features such as stormwater ponds, pipes, ditches, and creeks requires the owner to conduct routine maintenance such as stabilization measures, tree/debris removal, etc. Property owners may solicit the services of a landscape contractor and/or a design professional to assist with the maintenance of these features. See below policy and graphic for more information.
Cherokee County does not assist with or conduct maintenance on private property. Additionally, the County does not maintain drainage easements beyond the right of way.
1) “Drainage Easement” means an easement appurtenant or attached to a tract or parcel of land allowing the owner of adjacent tracts or other persons to discharge stormwater runoff onto the tract or parcel of land subject to the drainage easement.
2) It is the policy of Cherokee County that drainage easements are dedicated to the public use and are not accepted by Cherokee County for County maintenance and are not considered County property. It is Cherokee County policy that no County forces or equipment shall be used to perform construction to any drainage easement within Cherokee County, unless said easement lies within Cherokee County right-of-way and/or said work is necessary to protect County right-of-way per policy adopted January 14, 1997.
3) Cherokee County shall not be responsible for maintenance of any pipes, ditches, detention ponds, water quality structures, or other structures within any drainage easement outside the County right-of-way.
4) The property owner will be required to keep all drainage easements off of the County right-of-way free of obstruction in such a way as to ensure the maximum designed flow at all times.
5) The property owner shall not alter any drainage improvements without the prior written approval from the Cherokee County Engineering Department.
These items include pipes, channels (ditches), and stormwater management ponds/facilities.
Please note: Stormwater flow inevitably transmits debris from upstream to downstream properties. This flow and debris transfer naturally occurs via sheet flow and concentrated flow; concentrated flow conveys through ditches, piping, streams, etc. This debris consists of vegetative material and even litter in some instances. This is a natural occurrence in stormwater conveyances and infrastructure. Increased landscaping maintenance and debris removal on upstream properties does help prevent this occurrence; however, Cherokee County cannot enforce these measures on private property owners.
You may also utilize the web-based GIS to zoom into the specific areas for more detailed information as you need it; below is a web link and instructions.
1) Follow this link: http://gis.cherokeega.com/html5viewer/?viewer=taxparcels
2) On the bottom left, click on the layer tab.
3) Scroll down in the layer menu to stormwater.
4) Click on the + button and check all features (pipes, GI/LID and ponds).
5) Zoom into the area in question
6) Hover over the pond and right-click, select “what’s here”
7) In the left hand panel, attribute details will be displayed.
8) You may also locate your final plat by hovering over your parcel and right-click, select "what's here", and select the landmark plat link. Note that all properties may not have a plat.
9) Final plats can also be researched at the following website by subdivision name, etc. http://deeds.cherokeega.com/