Bedford developer ordered to stop work on new housing community

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FOREST, Va. (WDBJ7) Bedford county officials have issued a "stop work" order for a local development, after neighbors complained of runoff damaging nearby lakes and streams.

This photo taken Tuesday shows mud in Lake Vista. People living in the Forest community say runoff from a nearby construction site created the mess.

Thomas Bell, owner of Thomas Builders, is constructing single family homes in a new community called "Cottontown Manor" in Forest. Bell was informed Monday that erosion and sediment control measures at his work site had failed during recent rainfall.

In an email sent from Bedford County Erosion and Sediment Control Inspector Randal Doss, Bell was ordered to stop construction of his development and begin work on corrective measures to stop mud and silt erosion.

People living in the Lake Vista community, adjacent to the Cottontown Manor construction site, complained over the weekend about excessive mud washing into their neighborhood.

"I was pleasantly surprised to find that out yesterday that work is going to be done and more thoughtfully arranged," said Mauranna Sherman, a Lake Vista resident who raised concerns about the muddy runoff.

WDBJ7 reached out to Bell Tuesday for comment. Messages left with his receptionist were not returned.

Bell has completed other developments in Bedford County, including the Lake Manor community off Everett Road. The Bedford County Board of Supervisors is considering two separate proposals from Bell, who wants to build several other large housing communities in Forest. One would include apartments, townhouses and single family homes across and would be located across from Jefferson Forest High School. The other would include 200 single family homes near the intersection of Forest Road and Gladden Circle. Final votes to approve to approve or deny rezoning for those developments have not been cast.