The court system in the state of North Carolina has ground practically to a halt due to the coronavirus – but that didn’t stop a homeowner in Summerfield from filing a lawsuit recently against the Town of Summerfield, Guilford County and two limited liability corporations (LLC’s) for what the homeowner claims is severe stormwater runoff that’s causing big problems on his property.

Summerfield resident Ronald Ray is suing Smile House LLC, Hoskins Property LLC, Fleming Engineering and the town and county as part of the stormwater runoff dispute which has been going on for over a year.

The county is named as a defendant because the sheriff’s substation is part of the development.

The lawsuit claims that the development in Summerfield that contains a new dentist office, a Guilford County Sheriff’s Department substation and a former real estate office – the Hoskins House – was approved and built without proper permitting from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System – a regulatory system created in the early 1970s, as part of the Clean Water Act, to insure against improper water discharge from developments.

According to the lawsuit, state runoff regulations require that certain developments meet the Elimination System requirements when, as in this case, buildings are built at different times as part of a “common plan of development.”

The properties in the development, the engineering firm and the Summerfield Zoning Board that signed off on the project are all named in the lawsuit.

There is a great deal of agreement that the runoff is a problem – and there’s a YouTube video showing the runoff during one storm – but there is a dispute about who’s at fault.

Summerfield Mayor BJ Barnes – the former longtime sheriff of Guilford County – stated that he can’t say a lot about the matter right now since there’s an active lawsuit at play, but he said he could make a few comments regarding the situation.

“I can tell you that the town really didn’t have anything to do with it,” Barnes said.

He said the main role Summerfield played was trying to get everyone to work together on a solution.

““There’s four lots but there’s three buildings,” Barnes said, adding, “The town was trying to get all the sides together.”

The mayor added that he believes an amicable solution can still be reached by the parties.

“I think there can be,” Barnes said when asked if a negotiated agreement is still possible. “I think that everyone is willing to work on this thing.”