Published: Jul 23, 2012 12:00 AM
Modified: Jul 22, 2012 05:53 PM
DURHAM - Durham County will consider an agreement Monday night to provide wastewater-treatment to the controversial 751 South subdivision.
County Manager Mike Ruffin said the action isn’t about whether to provide the service, as the commissioners approved that request 3-1 in September.
“It is about how,” Ruffin said.
The 7 p.m. meeting will be held on the second floor of the Durham County Government Administrative Complex, 200 E. Main St.
The proposed agreement calls for 751 developer Southern Durham Development to cover all costs of sewer lines, a possible reuse water line and pump stations.
“We have no risk for any kind of loss of any investment that would be made,” Ruffin said.
The off-site improvements would eventually be conveyed to the county, but the developer, or its successor, would be responsible for their operation, service and maintenance, the contract states.
Controversy has followed Southern Durham Development since it proposed the 167-acre 751 South project in 2008.
The developers want to build 1,300 homes and 600,000 square feet of commercial space on N.C. 751 near Jordan Lake. Supporters tout the tax revenue and jobs. Opponents say it threatens water quality in the already polluted Jordan Lake.
The county’s decision to provide wastewater treatment service has further fueled the controversy.
First, the county has agreed to serve an area traditionally covered by the city, which rejected the developer’s request.
Second, opponents question the logic of moving wastewater through nearly four miles of yet-to-be constructed pipe to the county’s Triangle Wastewater Treatment Plant. They have asked whether community wells could serve the project.
“This would sort of put the cart before the horse,” opponent Steve Bocckino said.
Southern Durham would have to appear before commissioners in a hearing to get wells approved, City-County Planning Director Steve Medlin said. Permits from the county and two state agencies would be required before related construction could begin.
Ruffin and Southern Durham Development President Alex Mitchell said the plan to use wells and county sewer service – which includes odor control requirements – may not be ideal, but it is viable.
“That is one of our options,” Mitchell said. “We still obviously would love to work something out with the city of Durham.”
Under the contract, the county would treat up to 570,000 gallons of wastewater per day at its plant, which has a capacity to treat 12 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Southern Durham would pay more than $1.2 million in annual payments that would start no later than June 30, 2013, the contract states. The capacity will not be reserved until the fees are paid.