COLUMBIA — The mountain of dirt that has dominated the corner of Green Meadows and Bethel roads for more than three years has residents upset, but the man who owns the property says it’s going nowhere soon.
Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, who lives in the neighborhood, said the dirt pile is more than an eyesore.
“It is super high, and when the wind blows or it rains, the dirt travels,” Wilson-Kleekamp said. “It increases pollution and water runoff.”
Wilson-Kleekamp also believes the mound is a potential liability.
“Kids play on the dirt all the time and could get hurt,” she said.
Wilson-Kleekamp said she has contacted Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser numerous times about the dirt pile but has heard nothing back. Nauser, however, said she also wonders why the dirt is there and has called it to the council’s attention.
“It has been sitting there my entire first term,” Nauser said. “I brought it up to the council, and they looked at what the ordinances said. We then gave it to (the) Environment and Energy (Commission) and are now looking at land-disturbance issues. Hopefully the staff will make recommendations.”
But Pat Fitzgerald of the Public Works Department said there’s little to be done. He said the owner, developer Don Stohldrier, uses the site to stockpile black dirt. He said the slow home-building market has caused demand for such soil to drop.
“It is not regulated by an ordinance, other than keep it from eroding and keep it out of the streams,” Fitzgerald said. “We can’t require anyone to move it.”
Stohldrier said the dirt is there simply because he has nowhere else to put it.
“I do sell it on occasion and will continue to sell it till it’s gone,” Stohldrier said.
Meanwhile, Wilson-Kleekamp remains frustrated.
“It is just not fair,” she said. “This is the gateway into our neighborhood.”