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Abandoned Alabaster development leaves erosion, storm water pollution & blight behind

No penalty from ADEM for "alleged violations"

Neighbors in a Shelby County community say a stalled development is not only an eyesore but causing environmental issues. Our Fighting For You team did some digging and found six years after an investigation by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, known as ADEM, it appears nothing has changed at the location.

ABC3340 News found heavy erosion, multiple clogged storm sewer drains, clay covered roads and lots of overgrowth on North Wynlake Drive in Alabaster. After we started asking questions and residents filed new complaints, ADEM inspectors were back out this week.

Construction sites are supposed to be managed to keep runoff pollutants from getting into storm drains which flow to creeks and rivers.

"I know it's been a source of frustration and a nightmare for homeowners who live over there. We are very sympathetic," explains Alabaster City Manager Brian Binzer. He says the city hopes to get a new builder to take over. "There are a number of things he (the developer) has to do to correct the storm water drainage before it can change hands," says Binzer.

The developer J. Michael White is a familiar name on Fighting For You. Homeowners in nearby Wynlake, complained in one of our reports they wanted more accounting of money they were paying White in HOA fees. And customers at his Tannehill Sewer system complained about excessive fees in a recent report.

Now the situation on North Wynlake Drive has other homeowners asking for answers. A search of ADEM records and we found reports dating back to 2011 ordering White to immediately "cease" construction on North Wynlake. Inspectors found steps required on all such construction sites to prevent sediment and other pollutants from entering into nearby waterways were not in place. No civil penalty was ever assessed. And now as the years have gone by, it appears no corrective action was taken.

"We were hopeful ADEM would go deeper and issue fines," said Binzer. An ADEM spokeswoman had no explanation as to why no fines were issued or why the situation was not corrected.

A handful of homes sit at the front of the development on North Wynlake Drive. One homeowner tells us they've done their best to keep the weeds down near their property.

If you see some type of environmental concern, you can report it on ADEM's website: click on complaints in red on the right side, put in information along with dates and upload pictures or video if you have them. You do not have to give your name.

If you're not satisfied with ADEM's response, call us at Fighting For You.

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