To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
Hope all of you are well and enjoying the lovely weather. Here’s the latest updates on wastewater in our community.
Briar Chapel’s Governing Documents – Who do they Protect?
When all of us bought our homes, we signed the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. A few of us read them before we signed, but most of us skimmed and moved on. Most of us assume that these documents are intended to protect our property values by providing a set of rules and restrictions that ensure that our community is maintained at a standard that we can all be proud of.
Since getting involved with our community’s wastewater issues, we’ve discovered that there is a lot in these documents that residents should be aware of.
· Article 3.2 Rule Making Authority – Our community is required to follow the rules and restrictions document in Appendix C (Pg. 79). To modify these rules the BCCA must have 50% vote of all homeowners and written consent from Newland as long as they own one lot in the community.
· Article 9 Expansion of the Community – Newland can expand Briar Chapel at any time without the consent of the BCCA or homeowners.
· Article 10 Additional Rights Reserved to Newland
o Article 10.2 - Newland has the right to veto any changes to the Rules and Restrictions or Design Guidelines as long as they own at least one lot in the community.
o Article 10.4 - BCCA cannot protest or object to changes in the Master Plan for Briar Chapel or property outside of Briar Chapel without consent from Newland.
o Article 10.5 – No one can file additional convenants or modifications to the existing covenants without Newland’s approval as long as Newland owns one lot in the community.
· Article 16.3 Noise and Odor from Water and Sewer Operations -This was the “official” notification to homeowners that there was a WWTP is our community. Our signature on the document certifies that we were all notified when we bought our homes. This says that wastewater treatment facilities in the vicinity of our community may release odors and that Newland, the builders, the BCCA and their representatives are not liable for these conditions.
o Prior to 75% build-out of our community, Newland had unilateral right to amend the Bylaws.
o After 75% build-out, the Bylaws can only be amended with 67% vote of Class “A” votes (homeowners and includes Newland and builders for each lot that they own). Further no amendment may remove, revoke or modify any right or privilege of Newland’s without the written consent of Newland.
In short, the Covenants and Bylaws cannot be modified without Newland’s consent until Newland no longer owns any property in Briar Chapel.
Impact on Tax Valuation on Homes Closest to the WWTP
Chatham County has recently reappraised all of the homes within Briar Chapel. In last week’s email, we explained how homeowners who live close to the WWTP saw a decline in their market valuation for their homes. We have done some more digging and discovered that the way the Chatham County tax appraisers calculated the valuation for each home involves multiple steps applied to both the land value and property improvements (home value). It appears that the tax appraisers took 25%, 20%, 15% or 10% off the value of homes (not the land – only the homes) depending on their distance from the WWTP. We were looking at the net effect (land and homes). When you look at them separately (land vs. home), it turns out that a larger number of homes in our community were devalued due to their proximity to the WWTP. This is tangible evidence of “damages” to those homeowners proximal to the WWTP.
If you are interested in finding out if your property was affected, go to the Chatham County Land Records Viewer.
o In the search feature, enter the last name that appears on your deed and select among the parcel deed name or current owners listed.
o The map will zoom in and highlight your property with a black box indicating your AKPAR number. Press the > in the AKPAR box.
o This pulls up the information on your property. Click on the Property Record Card. This is a 3-4 page document that shows how your property revaluation was calculated.
o Fair warning – this is detailed information. What you are looking for are items that are reducing your valuation. DEPR is the amount reduced for depreciation. ECON is the percentage reduced due to proximity to the WWTP.
SCN Submits Letter to the Editor at Chatham News & Record
The Chatham News & Record April 29th issue includes a Letter to the Editor submitted by SCN. This letter challenges the current strategy for handling wastewater in NE Chatham County, by relying on developers to provide community-based wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) for their communities and surrounding areas. Developers do what they have to do to get their communities built, then sell the plant and walk away. As a result, Briar Chapel and several other WWTP’s in NE Chatham County are having serious problems. We are asking Chatham County government to provide the leadership to launch a Study Commission to investigate and propose options for a long term solution.
Status Update on Tri-Party Agreement
Here’s the latest information we have on the status of the work outlined in the Tri-Party Agreement:
· Work was completed on the forcemain bypass and it went into use on April 24th. Many of the sewage spills have occurred along Force Main A, this project rerouted the wastewater from Pump Station A to the more robust SD East force main and we are hopeful that this bypass will significantly reduce sewage spills in our community. The dog park restoration is underway.
· Work on the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) expansion is underway. ONSWC is using the existing permit, requiring expansion to 500,000 gpd using extended aeration. Our understanding from Mr. McDonald is they expect construction to be completed by end of 2021.
· The permit modification request for the Odor Control system was submitted March 31st. According to Mr. McDonald, ONSWC needs expedited approval in 60 days of this permit modification to make these improvements. NCDEQ is reviewing the request and is expected to request more information before reaching a decision.
· NCDEQ approved additional spray irrigation permit modifications increasing the volume of permitted and certified spray irrigation to 250,000gpd.
· NC DEQ is reviewing two additional permit modification requests from ONSWC that would convert some existing spray irrigation from potable to reclaimed water (e.g. Encore residential homes and Sports Courts) and allows construction of some additional spray irrigation fields (area west and south of Western retention pond and in common areas within Encore and behind Cliffdale homes). If approved, this would increase our spray irrigation capacity to close to 500,000 gpd.
· The Tri-Party Council posted the meeting notes for their April 13th meeting. Of note:
o Newland has supplied the projected completion dates for the commercial parcels (SD-East and SD-West on 15/501) to ONSWC. This information is deemed proprietary by Newland and was not included in the meeting notes.
o ONSWC’s request to convert Encore spray irrigation for homes from potable to reclaimed water has not yet been approved. If approval is not secured by early May, Newland will initiate use of potable water for Encore irrigation.
o NCDEQ has indicated that they will make ONSWC’s request to add new spray irrigation fields in Package H (south and west of the Western Pond) contingent on no trails in the area. The BCCA wants to keep the trails and spray irrigation.
o In anticipation of DEQ approval for the odor control modifications requested, ONSWC has moved ahead with the purchase of equipment for odor control. SCN sent a letter to DEQ on April 12th voicing our support for expedited approval of this request. BCCA has decided to support this request as well and sent a letter to DEQ on April 28th.
o The next meeting of the Tri-Party Council is May 11th, 2021.
Documenting our Concerns
We are extremely thankful for the information shared with us by BC residents. We need to continue to document resident’s complaints/concerns, particularly odor and spray irrigation issues. When you have a complaint, please call Integra Water’s customer service number 877-511-2911. To make sure your complaint is documented, we ask that you also email your concern to us at STOPCHATHAMNORTH@gmail.com. We will make sure your complaint is shared with all the appropriate parties (Integra Water, NCDEQ, BCCA board, First Residential, Amanda Grenier) and documented/tracked.
Total amount donated: $50,816.28 (495 families contributing)
Spent to date: $42,340.16 (Legal: $35,317.50, Engineering Expert: $6,142.00, Administrative: $880.66)
You can donate via PayPal by using this link:
If you prefer not to use PayPal:
You can write a check to: STOPCHATHAMNORTH and mail it to: STOPCHATHAMNORTH in care of Liz Rolison, 1900 Briar Chapel Parkway, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 or simply drop the check at Liz’s house.
We are maintaining a full accounting of these funds and will return any unused funds to all contributors taking into account the weighted average cost to contribution basis. Thank you again for contributing.
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 several new communities surrounding Briar Chapel that are planning to utilize 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 a nuisance, unhealthy or hazardous conditions for Briar Chapel residents.
For more information: www.stopchathamnorth.com