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Water woes: Construction blamed as millions spent to buy properties (access required)

By Tara Ramsey It is about water quantity vs. water quality. It is a fight that can pit land developers against homeowners, and it has been spilling over into Mecklenburg County’s homes and businesses. This month’s approval by the county to buy half of the 264 units at Doral Apartments along Bramlet Road in the Briar Creek Watershed in Charlotte has reignited complaints that commercial development has hindered nature’s ability to respond to heavy rain, specifically because the impervious nature of concrete and pavement does not allow water to absorb into it like dirt and soil. Some residents believe that development could be the reason Doral Apartments has flooded so often and badly enough that the county sought a federal grant to purchase the property and turn it into green space. Doral Apartments has been the victim of flooding at least five times, according to records at the Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services Agency. Since August 1995, when Tropical Storm Jerry dumped 12 inches of rain on Charlotte, the apartment complex has had more than $6.9 million in damage.

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