SRWMD vs. The Hill Family
This is the story of Jeffrey Hill, his wife, Linda, and their four children (Lance, Josh, Jolene and Megan) and their fight against a government bureaucratic agency, The Suwannee River Water Management District, whose politically appointed (non-elected) Governing Board has wasted over 3.7 million dollars (and counting), attempting to both prosecute and persecute the Hill family for an alleged permit violation. What makes this story even more incredulous is that Hill has represented himself pro se against the best lawyers the Suwannee River Water Management District could hire with your money.
In 1966, L.P. “Buck” Hill (father of Jeffrey Hill) constructed a dike on his farm in Lake City, Columbia County, Florida creating a small lake that provided irrigation for the family farm and recreational opportunities. The dike was designed with government help from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The dike was designed with a flow control valve and required no permit to build. In 2003, the flow control valve failed once during back-to-back hurricanes Francis and Jeanne, causing water to flow through the secondary control spillway as designed. No damage resulted from the breach, except for the expected erosion and washing of sand. Due to this event, Hill repaired the dike and flow control structure to original specifications.
The Suwannee River Water Management District argued the repair was not maintenance; therefore, a permit was required. Hill argued that permits are required for environmental impact and that the repair (pipe replacement) made no impact.
What ensued was a tremendous waste of taxpayer money, government ineptitude and downright lying by government officials. The issue would be comical if not for the fact that the Hill family has suffered tremendous economic and emotional distress. This website is dedicated to ensuring this story is told and to hope that one day, the officials responsible will be held accountable for their actions.