Monday, May 02, 2016

Residents Along Calls Creek To Tell Oconee County Commissioners They Will Not Grant Easements For Proposed Sewer Line

Goal Is To Force Condemnation

Representatives of Friends of Calls Creek plan to submit statements to the Oconee County Board of Commissioners tomorrow night signed by 73 residents along the creek who say they will not grant an easement to the county for the proposed pipeline.

If the residents follow up on their pledges, the county would be forced to take condemnation action against the land owners to go forward with its plans, potentially running up the cost of the project.

Oconee County Utility Department Director Wayne Haynie, who has initiated action on the Calls Creek sewer line, also will be before the Commission tomorrow night at its regular meeting to discuss Task Orders totaling $190,690 for additional water and sewer work in the county.

The commissioners also will hear a rezone request to allow for a fast food restaurant and a construction office in a business development planned for Old Macon Highway in front of the Athens Ridge student residential complex.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

Friends Of Calls Creek

Jim McGarvey, one of the organizers of Friends of Calls Creek, announced the outcome of the petition efforts at the end of a meeting the group held last Thursday night at the Oconee County Library in Watksville.

McGarvey told me this evening that the petitions come from people on both sides of the creek, since there is uncertainty at present regarding the exact route the pipeline would follow.

Haynie told me last week he had not yet received final plans from the firm that did the survey work on the creek.

The statement says that the signer resolves “to refuse any Oconee County Water Utility Easement Requests for the installation of the said 24” pipeline by signing this nonbinding Resolution.”

Committees Formed

More than 45 people attended the meeting Thursday night, which ended with the formation of four committees to fight the county’s plans.

These committees include a permit committee to focus on the environmental documents the county needs for the proposed expansion of the Calls Creek sewer plant, an engineering committee to examine alternatives to the sewer line, a political committee, and a legal committee.

The nearly two-hour meeting began with an overview by me of my posts on sewer issues in the county over the years.

I did make at least one slip of the tongue in my comments, saying that the proposed Middle Oconee River sewer plant was to be online by 2002.

The county’s planning documents use a date of 2012 for the expected operation of that plant.

The video of the entire meeting is below.

OCO: Friends of Calls Creek 4 28 16 Complete from Lee Becker on Vimeo

Task Orders

Utility Department Director Haynie is scheduled to ask the BOC tomorrow night to approve two task orders for a total of $140,500 with Carter and Sloope Inc., an engineering consultant firm with offices at 1031 Stonebridge Parkway between Butler’s Crossing and Watkinsville.

These task orders are for engineering, design, bid and construction phase services for a new sewer system to provide sewer service for Bogart. It will include expanded sewer services for Benson’s Bakery in that city.

The county is partnering with Bogart to provide sewers for the city. Currently, only Benson’s Bakery has sewer service, and the dependence on septic systems has hampered development in the city.

Haynie also will ask the commissioners to approve another task order with Carter and Sloope for $50,190 for help in forecasting and planning as the county updates its Water and Wastewater Master Plan.

Rezone Request

Strategic Holdings LLC from Madison, Georgia, is asking the Board of Commissioners to modify the B-2 zoning it has on 10 acres at 8830 Old Macon Highway, across from The Falls of Oconee retail and restaurant complex now under construction.

The property currently is zoned B-2 for highway business use, but the rezone listed a number of allowed uses of the land and did not include a drive-through restaurant or a construction contractor-builder office.

Strategic Holdings is represented by Kelly Mahoney, owner of Value Added Concepts LLC, 8771 Macon Highway, Suite B.

The county will provide sewer services via an existing gravity-flow sewer line on the property.

Three Buildings

The updated site plans call for three separate buildings.

One is a 2,300 square-foot single-story building for a restaurant. The narrative for the rezone say no tenant has been identified.

The second building is a 5,000 square-foot single-story building to be used for retail and office purposes.

The third building, 24,200 square-feet in size, will be of two stories and will be used for the contractor-developer office.

The Oconee County Planning Commission recommended approval of the rezone request at its April 18 meeting. A video of that meeting, recorded by Sarah Bell, is HERE.


Anonymous said...

In the case of the pipeline down Calls Creek, there are several solutions being kicked around, and my perspective is “What is most fair and least intrusive?” Running a pipeline through established neighborhoods does not meet these criteria. To me, the least intrusive solution is to run the pipeline to the Middle Oconee via the existing powerline right of way or to purchase an easement parallel to that right of way if necessary. This will require additional costs to pump the effluent to a point gravity can take over. It will also require the County to continue to use existing pump stations to move sewage to the Calls Creek facility. The fair part of my solution is to charge the sewer users, those who directly benefit from the sewer, whatever additional costs are necessary to operate and maintain the pumping operation. After all, fair is fair.

From an engineering and cost perspective, gravity sewers are the way to go. Certainly my proposal is more expensive. On the other hand, this County prides itself as a shining example of growth within a rural environment. There is an opportunity here to maintain our environment, our neighborhoods, and our values.

It only takes a little political will and the shifting of the cost burden to those that benefit to continue our journey.

The same philosophy should be used in any attempt to put a sewer down Barber Creek.

Zippity said...

Good work, citizens. I wish you success. Wish the Bishop area farmers were as active in relation to the 441 widening. The state has even passed legislation to push that plan forward without environmental considerations. Glad to see your group has legal and a political committees.

Anonymous said...

Alright Friends of Calls Creek, let's see what you really stand for.

Commissioner candidates Mark Saxon and Mark Thomas are establishment candidates, and will no doubt push the Calls Creek sewer project through. Saxon is an incumbent and pro-growth to a fault.

Penny Mills and Sarah Bell are not part of the establishment, and are against the project.

It all comes down to the election. If Saxon and Thomas are voted in, then the Friend of Calls Creek didn't fight and organize hard enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:50

"Commissioner candidates Mark Saxon and Mark Thomas are establishment candidates, and will no doubt push the Calls Creek sewer project through."

That's your thinking. Mark Thomas is the one who pushed the current BOC with videos of the Calls Creek spill last year. Thomas cares about Oconee which is the reason he's been on the BOE and now seeks a seat on the BOC. Your theory leads me to believe that you are either Mills or more likely Bell or someone who is closely in relation to them.

Anonymous said...

Mark Thomas is on the Industrial Development Authority, which led the way on the Caterpillar project and giveaways. Millions spent with little return on investment. Promises were made and those promises fell flat. Also, the chair of the IDA also does business with the county. I guess Mark Thomas had no problem with that ridiculous conflict of interest.