Thursday, December 08, 2016

Developer Of Bogart Subdivision Appealing Oconee County Denial Of Sewer Capacity

Seeking Transfer

The developer of a 28-acre residential subdivision in Bogart is appealing a decision by Oconee County Utility Department Director Wayne Haynie to deny it sewage treatment capacity for its project.

T. Wesley Robinson, a Gainesville attorney, on Tuesday sent a letter to Haynie, copied to County Attorney Daniell Haygood, appealing Haynie’s denial of residential sewer and asking that the issue be put on the agenda for consideration by the Oconee County Board of Commissioners in January.

Robinson told Haynie that Lovett-Keller Ventures LLC, the developer of the subdivision in Bogart, has purchased sewer capacity already sold by the county to another party so will not need new capacity for the project.

The City Council of Bogart on Monday evening approved the rezone request by Lovett-Keller Ventures for the subdivision after holding a public hearing at City Hall.

Lovett And Keller

Stephen Lovett and Chad Keller appeared before the Bogart Council Monday to answer questions about their request to downzone the 28 acres between Atlanta Highway and E. Thompson Street on the east side of Bogart, near the Oconee County line.

David Camp, 11/14/2016

The acreage previously had been zoned for a commercial subdivision.

Lovett told the Council that the issue of sewer capacity had not been resolved and that he was waiting for a transfer of previously sold capacity to be approved by the county.

Lovett said he believed that the county would approve the transfer once sewage flow now being pumped to the Land Application Site on Rocky Branch Road was transferred to the Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant on the north side of Watkinsville.

Lovett did not identify the seller of the sewer capacity.

Nov. 3 Letter

I obtained the Dec. 6 letter from Robinson to Haynie today through an open records request as well as a Nov. 3 letter from Robinson to Haynie.

In that Nov. 3 letter, Robinson said Lovett-Keller was obtaining the sewer capacity from property owned by REO Funding Solutions III LLC.

According to county tax records, REO Funding Solultions III owns Westland, the dormant 443-acre master plan development on the south side of U.S. 78 between Hog Mountain Road and the Apalachee River.

The Board of Commissioners rezoned the property in 2003 for 430 residential lots as well acreage for commercial development and a condominium office park.

The county agreed to provide water and sewer service.

Sewer Capacity Tranfer

Attorney Robinson provided Haynie with an agreement that Lovett-Keller Ventures has reached with REO Funding Solutions III to transfer 7,280 gallons per day of sewer capacity for the Bogart subdivision project.

The county is being asked to agree to purchase that capacity back from REO Funding Solutions for $87,360.

According to the agreement submitted by Lovett-Keller, the county would then agree to sell that capacity to Lovett-Keller for $69,160.

Haynie had denied sewer capacity to Lovett-Keller on the grounds that the county did not have residential sewer capacity to sell.

35 Homes

According to the document, the 7,280 gallons per day of transferred capacity would be sufficient for 35 single family homes.

Lovett, of Gainesville, told the Bogart City Council on Monday night that the project would “be profitable at 20 lots” without sewer but that he and Keller want to have sewer so as to be able to increase the number of lots in the subdivision.

David Camp, who represents Bogart on the Oconee County Planning Commission, was among a handful of citizens who attended the public hearing on Monday night.

The Planning Commission voted in favor of the rezone at its meeting on Nov. 14.

Camp spoke in favor of the rezone at the Council meeting Monday.

9 comments:

Barb Carroll said...

do i understand this correctly???? now sewage capacity is being sold by one developer to another via oconee county repurchasing said capacity from the first and then reselling it to the second at loss pushing $20,000.

this is totally insane.

rightway1974 said...

Citizens need to show up a the meeting to protest us tax payers once again funding a development that is a detriment to the county. Why should the tax payers take a $20k loss? The capacity has already been allocated to another parcel.

Barb Carroll said...

even if the new developer paid "retail" (e.g., full price so oconee county is not out of pocket), there are the expensive and time consuming efforts of the county to act as a "broker" here.

sewage capacity is not a commodity to be bought and sold by brokers on the secondary market with oconee county acting as the middleman.

there also should be a limit on the time that developers can tie up sewage capacity. i understand the parkside development approved somewhere around 2004 (horrible decision by boc) has been sold at least three times without ever breaking ground. everyone knows that this development is not good at all for oconee county, will never pay for itself in taxes, will put untold stress on the school system, will be an eyesore and blight on our beautiful county, yet, these developers just wheel and deal among themselves while holding county infrastructure promises "in the bank," as an asset to be bought and sold.

surely the BOC can figure out a way to recall these infrastructure promises sold on the cheap over a decade ago. this aint rocket science and it is very bad business for oconee county.

Anonymous said...

Is REO selling all their capacity or part? Are they selling 7,269 GPD for the $87,360 or more capacity for that money? If the same capacity why the difference in purchase and selling price?
Has the County already agreed to this or is it just a proposal?
What is REO going to do if they decide to develop their property? Will they be able to buy back capacity at a lower price?
This is sounding like manipulating commodity trading on the Stock Market.
I have some empathy for Lovett-Keller in wanting to have more lots to sell with sewer than less lots on septic. But why should we taxpayers foot their loss of income difference?

Anonymous said...

The county is being asked to agree to purchase that capacity back from REO Funding Solutions for $87,360.
According to the agreement submitted by Lovett-Keller, the county would then agree to sell that capacity to Lovett-Keller for $69,160.

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Ummm...heck no! The county is supposed to take a $20k hit solely for the profitability of Lovett-Keller?? Ridiculous, unethical and immoral.

Wanna bet Lovett-Keller will be hiring Abe Abouhamdem shortly? Somehow Abe is allowed to do business with the county while chairing the county Land Use & Transportation Committee...a mind boggling, inexcusable, unjustifiable and unpardonable conflict of interest typical of the Melvin Davis administration.

Hoping John Daniell and Chuck Horton have the onions to end the various conflicts of interest that festered under the reign of King Melvin (Abe, Rick Waller, Jamie Boswell, etc.).

Lee Becker said...

The county has not agreed to any sale of capacity. The proposal is before the county for action.

Lovett-Keller is proposing only to purchase enough of the capacity held by REO to build the subdivision in Bogart. The amount of additional capacity held by REO is not specified.

Lee Becker said...

Anonymous,
Abe Abouhamdan has played no role in this. Lovett-Keller hired Jon Williams of Williams and Associates to represent it in he rezone and is being represented by its attorney in the negotiations about sewer capacity. This issue has not come before the Land Use and Transportation Planning Committee. The Oconee County Planning Commission reviews zoning issues for Bogart, but the recommendations of the Planning Commission go to the Bogart Council. The Utility Department handles water and sewer issues in the county.
Lee

Zippity said...

It seems like there must/should be a time limit on developments of this sort. When we filled paper work for a building permit, it had to be finished in 6 months or it was no longer valid. Surely, for a development of this size, there should be a time limit on it. We don't have sewer capacity now. It does not seem appropriate to sell unused sewer capacity from 2004 to another developer today. I agree with all of you, this is crazy! Of course, if the county had had a plan to deal with all that sewage capacity they doled out, maybe the issue would not be critical. But they kept giving out sewage capacity above what the county can manage. Hope the new BOC will do better.

Foghorn said...

These "public hearings" are a farce, decisions are made previously. The public has no real input. Bogart blew a chance to fight for something besides a cookie-cutter subdivision that will always look out of place- maybe a viable new village center perhaps combined with greenspace and modest housing for older people and young families. Less strain on schools, walkable community, tax dollars to boot. The Racetrack on 78 is the commercial center for western Oconee now.
The model of auto-dependent subdivisions sprawling forever ultimately leads to deterioration and lower quality of living. We should leave our children something better. The BOC wants to create "Gwinnett East."