Dispute over sewer delays apartment project
The developer behind the Trinity Triangle project in Decatur closed a construction loan on the project on Friday, Aug. 8, following months of delay resulting from a dispute with DeKalb County over sewer services.
Kent Collins with developer Centro Development, told Decaturish, ““We plan to break ground on the Trinity Triangle development in the very near future. We are working with the county to resolve the remaining issues with respect to sewer fees, and expect to reach a resolution very soon.”
According to a source familiar with the project, the county sent Centro Development, a letter in November saying there was sufficient capacity to handle the 210 unit apartment development along East Trinity Place. The county later decided that the pipe needed to be upgraded and that the developer would have to pay more than $300,000 in impact fees. The source said that held up the issuance of the sewer permit, which held everything else up.
Collins said confirmed that a dispute over the sewer capacity had slowed down the project, which was originally supposed to begin in March.
“We have a letter stating that we have sanitary sewer capacity and we have to pay a really hefty access fee to connect to the county system, and we are basically negotiating with them currently because there are some questions from their staff standpoint about whether there’s actually issues in the lines we’re connecting to,” Collins said. “That’s all wrapped up in capacity, condition of the lines, added capacity to the system, and their access fees, and … it’s been a very lengthy process to identify those things.”
Department of Watershed Management Director James Chansler said that capacity letters aren’t necessarily ironclad.
“Capacity letters clearly state that there is no guarantee of capacity,” Chansler said in an email. “The utility often does not yet know the potential flows when the development is proposed.”
Chansler said that the balance of the sewer access fees is $304,000.
“As with any water and sewer utility, any needed water and/or sewer improvements required by developments are at their expense,” he said. “There are several different cost-sharing models—like economic development grants or cost-recovery agreements that can be used to off-set costs. I’m sure these are being looked at for this development, too.”
The source also told Decaturish that the sewer line that connects to the Trinity Project runs down Maple Street. The city of Decatur recently completed about $1.5 million worth of storm water improvements on that street and portions of the street were cut open throughout 2013 and into early 2014. The city recently completed the project, meaning that any future improvements to the county’s sewer line could require cutting open the street again.