To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
We wanted to update you on last night’s Chatham County Planning Board Meeting.
Chatham County Planning Board Meeting – Newland Asking for Final Plat Approval
On Tuesday, September 1st, NNP Briar Chapel, LLC (Newland) requested final plat approval for Briar Chapel Phase 13 Section 3, consisting of 59 lots located off Great Ridge Parkway and Phase 14, consisting of 89 lots (townhomes) located off Catullo Road. As a reminder at the August 4th meeting, the Planning Board voted unanimously to put the final plat approval for Phase 13 Section 3 on hold until Newland could confirm that the Briar Chapel Wastewater Treatment System is “up to meeting the needs” of this community.
We want to thank all of you who registered and attended the meeting remotely. The show of support spoke volumes. Five of us spoke, making the following points:
· WWTP, spray irrigation system and retention ponds do not have sufficient capacity to meet state regulatory requirements for the volume of homes, schools, and businesses currently connected to the system
· ONSWC has had 27 sewage spills (totaling over 79,000 gallons of sewage spilled) and 15 Notices of Violation over the last four years with increasing frequency in these issues as the volume processed has grown
· Many of these issues are due to “dire upgrades” that are needed to the collection system: force main and pump stations
· Unacceptable odor issues persist for those in our community who live closest to the WWTP
· Newland and ONSWC have not met their requirements under the Chatham County Compact Community ordinance to:
o Ensure the wastewater system is operating in regulatory compliance
o Eliminate nuisance odor conditions to the maximum extent possible
o Provide Chatham County with key documents on the WW system
o Keep both Chatham County and Briar Chapel residents informed of any violations or citations in connection with the WW system within 30 days
Newland was represented by Nick Robinson. He presented the following:
· ONSWC has engaged CE Group to “design an updated pump station and a revised force main routing” for the problematic force main. The design should be completed in the next couple of weeks. Permit timing is difficult to predict but ONSWC’s “goal is to have the new line installed and connected by Thanksgiving.” [Note: no one from ONSWC or Integra Water was present at the meeting]
· Additional plat changes were made and submitted to the Planning staff
· Newland met with Planning staff to confer on submission of key documents on the WW system [Note: Key documents have not yet been provided to Chatham County]
· Mr. Robinson argued that Newland had met all of the requirements of the Subdivision Ordinance and the final plats should be approved. While Briar Chapel falls under the Compact Community Ordinance, he argued that only the Subdivision Ordinance applies to this decision.
The Chatham County Planning Board voted unanimously (10-0) to deny the final plat approvals for Phase 13, Section 3, and Phase 14. They felt Newland had not sufficiently responded to the concerns raised at both the August 4th and September 1st meetings. They questioned why Newland hadn’t reported the violations to the citizens of Briar Chapel as required by the CCO. Most importantly, they felt it was their responsibility to uphold their Code of Ethics requiring them to protect the public health and welfare of the citizens of Chatham County. We applaud the Planning Board’s decision and thank them for the time and effort they put into this issue.
Newland’s request for final plat approval for Phase 13, Section 3, and Phase 14 will now go to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners (CC BOC) at their October 18th meeting for their final decision. The request will have a recommendation to approve from the Planning Dept. staff and a recommendation to deny from the Planning Board. We will have another opportunity for public input at that meeting. This allows us to make a case to the CC commissioners and to get the commissioners position on record. We’ll keep you informed and let you know how you can help.
We are concerned by the lack of enforcement by both the State and the County. We have provided documents that substantiate our claim that the Briar Chapel wastewater plant is overcapacity, the spray irrigation system is overcapacity and that we do not have adequate reclaimed water storage capacity. These issues are a clear violation of NC state regulations and Chatham County ordinances and enforcement actions should be taken.
We were disappointed that the Briar Chapel HOA Board of Directors could not join us last night. We will reach out to them to discuss and prepare for the October 18th meeting.
StopChathamNorth is an unincorporated non-profit association representing concerned homeowners within Briar Chapel. StopChathamNorth does NOT support a regional wastewater treatment plant within the residential community of Briar Chapel. We are aware that there are a number of new communities surrounding Briar Chapel that are planning to utilize our WWTP, in addition to the current proposal to add Fearrington Village to our WWTP. We are opposed to all of these plans to expand Briar Chapel’s WWTP for uses outside of the Briar Chapel residential community. We also believe that the WWTP and ONSWC must be fully compliant with all governance and regulatory guidelines to ensure operations do not create nuisance, unhealthy or hazardous conditions for Briar Chapel residents.
For more information: www.stopchathamnorth.com