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Washout closes Clevelands Sonic Drive-In restaurant
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Steve Letterman, right, and Derek Ragland, of S-Builders of Clarksville, Tenn., carry a Sonic Drive-In restaurant menu away from the damaged awning Wednesday afternoon. The Cleveland restaurant and nearby car wash are still closed after heavy rains washed out a trench about 200 feet long.

Crews are still working to repair damage caused by heavy rains at a Sonic Drive-In restaurant in Cleveland over the weekend.

More than 2 inches of rain that fell in a short period of time Saturday afternoon washed out a section of the restaurant's parking lot that was approximately 200 feet long, 15 feet wide and 10 feet deep, said David Murphy, White County's emergency management director.

Crews worked Tuesday to repair the hole in the parking lot, but how long the restaurant will be closed because of the damage is still unclear.

The owner of the Sonic, Mitchell Elliott, couldn't be reached for comment.

No one was injured in the incident and no vehicles were damaged, Murphy said. Only the parking lot and a section of the drive-in's canopy suffered damage, said Ringo McCollum, White County's chief building official.

"So far, from what we can access, it appears that the buildings were not affected too bad," McCollum said.

McCollum said other buildings near the restaurant did not appear to suffer damage, either.

The washout was unusual in the north Georgia town.

Murphy said the county never drew up any scenarios on how to deal with "that kind of an event."

"We have had no other problems in the city or the county that's been brought to our attention," he said.

And officials can't say for sure how to keep it from happening again. White County doesn't have an ordinance that regulates how businesses should deal with storm water, officials say.

State law requires communities with certain populations to have rules on dealing with storm water, but White County doesn't meet that threshold, said Harry Barton, White County's planning and solid waste director.

Neither Barton, McCollum nor Murphy could say what was responsible for the washout.

The county does comply with state regulations for roads and sediment control to issue permits for land disturbance permits, he said.

 

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