By Patric Hedlund
As we go to press, we have received an alert from Holiday Inn Express manager Kevin VanderBes that the Lebec County Water District (LCWD) may cut access to emergency water pressure required by the hotel’s fire-safety permit. The company has a back-up plan in place, he said.
Lebec Water District board member Darren Hager said, “I want that hotel to open—it benefits the district—but I want it done legally. The district’s attorney has been contacted by the hotel’s attorney. Right now I have a call in to our engineer.”
Hager said that while he had temporarily resigned from the board, actions were taken which do not fully comply with LCWD’s contract with the hotel and requirements of state and county law. Hager was re-elected in November but withdrew for business reasons, then returned to the board in December.
In the meantime, although pressure-regulating CLA-valves had been installed on the existing four-inch line to accommodate the hotel, the district found that corrosion in that line to a fire hydrant serving the hotel prevented delivery of the full 1,400 gallons per minute of high pressure water-flow required. Owners of the “Okie Girl” land, which the corroded pipe crossed, refused to allow entry to the land for the pipe to be replaced. A new 12-inch line (one-quarter mile long) was constructed on land owned by Emilie Wainright, but Hager said (as he returned to the board) that it was done without permits and that it crosses blue-line Cuddy Creek without permission from the state.
As engineers and attorneys work to find a solution, the hotel will remain open and in compliance with all safety regulations, VanderBes said.
This is part of the January 08, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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