Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 20, 2013

Well permit tabled

Pinnacle HOA seeks permission to add wells

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — An application by the Pinnacle Club Homeowners Association to drill wells ran into a snag on Thursday at a meeting of the Neches and Trinity Valleys Groundwater Conservation District Board meeting in Jacksonville.

The Homeowners Association is attempting to get a permit to drill four wells on the property to be operated in addition to the three existing wells. The board tabled the HOA’s permit request until some issues are resolved concerning who has the authority to request the permit.

“We just want to get the drilling permit in the HOA’s name, because we want to be responsible for the wells,” Tim Lawson said on behalf of the association.”

Lawson and the HOA became involved when the Challenge Group, which owns the golf course, was cited for rules violations concerning the three wells currently on the property. GCD General Manager Roy J. Rodgers said Lawson and his group are not responsible for the rule violations in connection with the three existing wells.

“There is considerable confusion about this matter,” GCD attorney John Stover said concerning the permit application. “There are a number of different issues dealing with ownership.”

Stover said the District has applications on file from the Challenge at the Pinnacle LLC,  Tim Lawson and David Carlile, the director of Challenge Group Limited, which operates several golf courses in East Texas.

Stover and the board will confer, then inform Lawson what information he must provide for a valid permit application.  Stover said it is important for Lawson and the parties involved to understand that even though the GCD is working with the Homeowners association to obtain a proper application, it does not mean that they have the authority to operate the wells.

“In the meantime, it needs to be made clear, they do not have the authority to pump out of those wells and if they do so, it is a violation of your rules and they are exposing themselves to a civil court imposing penalties,” Stover said.

Stover could not estimate how long it will take for the application process to be completed and for the Pinnacle Homeowners Association to start drilling.

“We will work on it expeditiously,” Stover said.

With the driest part of the year approaching, Lawson is concerned about just how long it will take for the permit process to be resolved.

“The issue we’ve got right now is we have shortage of water,” Lawson said. “We’d like to get that going so we don’t have to worry about taking care of the golf course. If I’d known we’d have to go through all this, we’d have started in January.”

Lawson said he thinks the Pinnacle can get water from another source while the well issue is being decided.

In a related issue, the GCD board voted to take “any and all necessary action against the legal owner and operator of the wells” until the violations regarding the wells are resolved. The violations include lack of a drilling permit, lack of an operator’s permit and lack of flow meters on three of the wells.