Who Should Clean Killearn Lakes?

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By: Matt Galka
October 23, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Dozens of Killearn Estates residents sounded off at the Tallahassee city commission meeting Wednesday night.

"I think what we should do is it's time now for the citizens of Tallahassee, it's now time for us to de-annex ourselves from the city," screamed one resident.

Neighbors were pleading with commissioners to do something about their polluted lakes which they say is caused by city runoff.

"We need your help, we've been asking for a long, long time," said Brad Trotman of the Killearn Homes Association.

More than 2,000 petitions were delivered to commissioners asking for help. Lake Killearney, Lake Kinsail and Lake Kanturk are listed as private properties. Aesthetically, it's the resident's responsibility to keep up appearances, but neighbors say this is about what's in the water.

Commissioners are concerned this could start a slippery slope of private property upkeep.

"We've got to be careful to make sure that we're not, I think, setting new standards that we can't keep up for anyone who comes to us and makes a request," said Commissioner Andrew Gillum.

When exiting the meeting, neighbors said they were more hopeful about something happening than they have been in 25 years. Commissioners said the best option might be to appeal to the Blueprint 2000 sales tax committee.

By Julie Montanaro
October 23, 2013

Folks who live in Killearn Estates are expected to deliver more than 2,000 petitions to Tallahassee City Hall tonight.

They want commissioners to clean up lakes in their neighborhood and do something about the stormwater runoff that's polluting them.

"I wouldn't put my big toe in the lake," Alan Williams said with a laugh.

Alan Williams lives on Little Lake Kanturk. He won't let his beloved dog Annie anywhere near it. He says it is time the City of Tallahassee admit it is responsible for cleaning up this lake ... and two more.

"Over 25 years of pollution...and the city has done nothing about it...nothing at all," Williams said.

The Killearn Homes Association is handing over a petition with more than two thousand signatures demanding the city do its part to clean up Lake Killearney, Lake Kinsail and Lake Kanturk.

The state has deemed them "impaired," but the city is challenging that designation and conducting its own testing which could take another 18 months.

Folks who live near the lakes contend the city must stop the flow of pollutants into them, and clear out the sediment and vegetation already there.

"They claim that none of their silt out of these pipes is their responsibility, and again, that's like me taking a dump truck and dumping it on your front yard and telling you 'its not my problem," said Brad Trotman with the Killearn Homes Association.

"Nutrients are getting in the lakes from urban runoff - that's something the city needs to deal with and the city will deal with" said Water Resources Engineer John Buss.

As for aesthetic upkeep, Buss says, that is up to the homeowners association and its 1982 annexation into the city didn't change that.

"These lakes are privately owned, they're not public property, there are no trespassing signs all around them and so it isn't a public expense to improve this real estate amenity," Buss said.

The commission is not expected to vote on this issue tonight. It will ultimately vote on whether to spend $10 million dollars in funds for lakes clean up.

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