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Discussion Starter #1
My backyard has a slope on the left side and my objective is to have a nice flat backyard.
Also on the edge my back and left property line sits this green circular storm water drain.

I have been thinking about building a retaining wall on the edge of my property line (may be a foot inside) and then fill it up with dirt to flatten out my backyard.

But the county keeps on rejecting my request by saying that I cannot modify the "esaement drain" at all. I am new to all this and would like to understand the definition of an "esaement drain". It is just the green thing or also includes the slope that is responsible for running the storm water down into the drain?

I have attached a image of the proposed plan that was rejected by the county.
Question 1: How can I modify the plan in way that the county is more likely to approve it? May be build the wall away from the drain. Looking for some recommendations of how far away it should be from the drain or any other ideas.
Question 2: Would the county be more likely to approve if I scrapped out the idea of building a retaining and instead built a platform deck over the sloping part of my backyard. In that case how close up to the property boundary can my deck go ?

I know rules and regulation will vary by county\region but I am looking for a general opinion around what the county is likely to like.
Location: GA
County: Forsyth
 

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The slope of your yard was part of the master development plan. The water from other lots probably passes through yours as does the water from the higher portions of your lot. You are correct that changing the contour after development is usually prohibited.

You might get approval if you have a landscape engineer devises and signs off on some buried method of moving the water across the back of your lot. I say might because most localities are determined to eliminate most concealed methods because sooner of later they always clog and create problems. The open movement method is now in flavor.
 

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Civil Engineer
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I am a little confused by this post. Why don't you talk to the county engineer or whoever is in charge to discuss the reasons why your plan was rejected, what your options might be, and how to improve your plan so it can be accepted? Certainly the county is in the best position to explain the rules and regulations related to the drain.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had a lot of back and forth with the county engineer but they kept refusing my request with a general reason of "easement modification is not permitted". They also suggested me to consult a landscape engineer. Hence I reached out to this landscaping company and they didn't provide any clear recommendations on what the County might approve AA Landscape And stone.com

Am I seeking help in the right direction or would a landscape engineer be something other than this (link above)?

Also looking for thoughts on my "plan B" of building platform deck instead of retaining wall.
Thanks.
 

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Civil Engineer
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You need to start by looking at the actual easement the county owns. This will probably be on your deed, which can typically be viewed at the Registry of Deeds. The county may have a copy of the easement they can share with you. As a matter of property law, you are not permitted to violate the terms of the easement, so you really need to see what the terms are before discussing what you can do with the county.
 

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The landscape company doesn't likely have an engineer on staff. Landscape engineers also know as landscape architects have completed a clogged degree in this special science .

Talk to the county about what the easement is and the rules about it. If you can not then an attorney can help you wade through the legalese that it is likely written in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Here's the response I got form the county engineer-
the County doesn’t own any part of the easement in your backyard. The easement is platted for use of your subdivision for drainage and is maintained by the HOA. There is no one specific part of the easement that can be altered. To know exactly where the easement is located on your property you will need a survey to stake the easement out.

Can soem one educate me on this part "you will need a survey to stake the easement out"


Thanks.
 

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Civil Engineer
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When your subdivision was approved, the approving authority required a drainage easement. The drainage easement is apparently in favor of the Homeowners Association. It is certainly possible that you own the land, but the easement imposes restrictions on what you can do with the land. In order to understand the restrictions, you will need to read the easement language, which is likely to be found on your deed, and probably in the approval for the subdivision as well. The actual location of the easement may be stated in terms of meets and bounds, which is surveyor language. In order to know the exact location of the easement, a surveyor would need to go out and stake points along the easement. The area of the easement is probably restricted to drainage structures, but the exact language in your deed will tell you what is allowed and what is prohibited.
 

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If you want to get a rough picture of what you are dealing with go to the county clerks (deed registrar for your area), pull a copy of your deed, reference the deed restrictions and recorded easements. Then pull a copy of the master plat for your section of the development.

Pay to get full sized copies, usually a few cash dollars per sheet take them home and study them. As an example only, mine shows a 5' storm water (buried) drain easement along the right side. A 2.5' driveway easement along each side (for the benefit of neighbors) and a full 15' utility easement across the back of the lot. Though I own, pay taxes on and maintain all this property the only thing I am allowed to build on any of those easements is a driveway on one side.

Technically speaking should one of the utility companies need to excavate the rear 15' of my lot, they would have legal obligation to replace the trees I planted there since their rights are superior to mine.

It also clearly states on the master plat that no homeowner, builder of, etc. shall change any land elevations in any manner that restricts the natural flow of water as developed.

Welcome to modern suburbia. :)

Now you know why people buy and build in the boonies.
 
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