by: Kathryn Burcham Updated:
UNION COUNTY, N.C. - A Union County paving company, already the subject of a criminal federal investigation, is now operating an illegal dirt dump site, according to county officials.
Eyewitness News obtained a copy of a notice of violation (NOV) sent to Stallings Farming LLC on Tuesday by Union County Planning & Zoning officials.
Stallings Farming LLC is a corporation that lists one of its principal managers as Monroe Bypass Constructors, whose registered agent is Carl A. Boggs III, of Boggs Paving in Monroe, according to the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Carl "Drew" Boggs and three other Boggs Paving executives are currently facing federal charges over allegations they defrauded state and federal transportation officials out of $87 million in contracts.
Boggs Paving trucks can frequently be seen on the dirt dumping site in question, which is off Stallings Road near Interstate 485.
Residents of two nearby subdivisions told Eyewitness News they first began complaining to county officials weeks ago as the dirt pile steadily grew in the field off Stallings Road.
"It is really frustrating because nobody told us about it, nobody gave us a heads up, we just started seeing dirt, and it just kept piling up," said neighbor Kelly Pham.
Pham and other neighbors complained of the constant noise from dump trucks delivering loads to the site.
Resident Chip McKenzie said construction workers also stop traffic to allow trucks to enter and leave the site, and said the trucks are damaging the road.
"The road is getting torn up and people are being inconvenienced. There (are) no answers. The question no one has asked is, ‘What are they doing with the dirt,’" McKenzie said.
Union County Planning & Zoning officials admitted they don't know the purpose of the dirt pile.
"Stockpiling of dirt is not necessarily allowed on property unless you have an approved development permit. There is no approved development permit on that property at this time," said Planning Director Brian Matthews.
Matthews said his department first sent a letter to Stallings Farming LLC on Feb. 7 to investigate the purpose of the dirt dump site.
When no one from the Stallings Farming LLC replied to the letter, county officials issued the notice of violation ordering employees to immediately cease the dirt dumping and remove all dirt from the site.
Matthews said if no one from Stallings Farming LLC responds within seven business days, officials are prepared to issue fines and penalties, which could reach up to $500 a day, and potentially seek an injunction from a judge.
"When you have that excessive amount of soil, it has to have a purpose," Matthews said. He said county officials also contacted North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and both agencies told Union County they had no prior knowledge of the activity.
Eyewitness News went to Boggs Paving offices in Monroe to request an interview about the dirt dumping. A company employee returned a message asking for an email address. Via email, "firstname.lastname@example.org" responded with the following statement: "Please see the attached permit issued by NCDENR referencing the property in question in Union County, NC. We are not aware of any NOV issued by any government agency concerning this property. Thank you."
The attached document was a "Certificate of Plan Approval" from NCDENR certifying an "erosion and sedimentary control plan" that was dated Feb. 11, 2014 -- four days after Union County officials first sent an inquiry letter about the site.
There was no development permit from Union County attached.
Union County Planning Director Matthews told Channel 9 the county received a certified letter receipt from the county's Notice of Violation letter on Thursday from Stallings Farming LLC, so it is unclear why "email@example.com" told Eyewitness News they were not aware of any NOV.
A follow-up email with further questions from Channel 9 to Stallings Farming LLC was not returned.