To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
There has been a lot going on over the last two weeks. Here are the latest updates on wastewater in our community.
In this email you will find information about:
1. Herndon Farms (a proposed 55+ development) rezoning request for a regional WWTP to be located on property just north of Briar Chapel off 15/501.
2. Vickers Village (186 residential units Compact Community) with a private WWTP located between Vickers Road and Jack Bennett Road along 15/501 across from Briar Chapel.
3. SCN supports efforts to form Study Commission to assess NE Chatham County’s wastewater situation and recommend options for a sustainable, long term strategy going forward.
4. Brookfield Residential completes acquisition of Newland.
5. Updates on the Tri-Party Agreement.
Herndon Farms Proposes WWTP – Located just North of Briar Chapel Veranda and Trails
Last week Chatham County Planning Dept announced a public hearing for Monday, June 21st on the proposed rezoning of Herndon Farms. Herndon Farms (formerly Rigsbee Farms) has proposed rezoning for a Compact Community located on the east and west sides of 15/501 adjacent to Briar Chapel. The east side is just north of Dogwood Veterinary (across from the Veranda) and will be a 55+ community offering 161 residential units with a combination of single family, duplexes, townhomes and congregate living. The west side runs north of the Veranda and along the Briar Chapel property line from 15/501 to the Bennett Mountain area (beyond Catullo Run) near Briar Chapel Parkway. The west side includes a 1-acre area that they are requesting to be rezoned for Light Industrial which will allow a WWTP that can be used by Herndon Farms and adjacent commercial property. This WWTP will use spray irrigation for discharge of the reclaimed water on both the west and east properties. Here’s a map of the proposed development showing the WWTP located off Oak Island Road, near the power easement not far from the Veranda and Briar Chapel’s bike skills area and walking trails. Here’s information on the Herndon Farms Light Industrial Rezoning request and the Herndon Farms Compact Community Rezoning request.
Our main concern with this proposal is with the Light Industrial Rezoning and the location of the WWTP. If this area is rezoned Light Industrial, this will allow the WWTP to be a “public utility facility serving regional areas”. Herndon Farms requires 90,000 gpd in wastewater capacity, but according to Jason Sullivan (Director of CC Planning Dept), “since the wastewater treatment plant area is a general use light industrial rezoning there is no limit on the treatment capacity of the plant.” In short, this would give Herndon Farms the first step in gaining approval of a regional WWTP located near The Veranda and just north of Briar Chapel walking trails.
On June 7th we sent information to the BCCA Board about these rezoning requests asking them: What is the BCCA’s position on these development plans? Do you support having a WWTP built adjacent to BCCA property? Do you have any concerns? We have not received a response, but are hopeful they will inform residents before the June 21st public hearing.
The public hearing will be held Monday, June 21st in person at the Pittsboro Historic Court House (meeting time has not yet been announced). Residents who wish to speak at the public hearing must sign up in advance of the meeting. We will send out the link to sign up for the meeting once Chatham County has posted it.
Vickers Village Proposes WWTP – Located on Property East of 15/501 Across from Briar Chapel
On June 7th, the Vickers Bennett Group sent out information on a Development Input Meeting planned for Monday, June 28th from 5-7pm for adjacent or nearby property owners. They are proposing a Compact Community with 60 single family homes, 111 townhomes and 15 condos over retail, plus commercial retail on property located between Vickers Road and Jack Bennett Road along 15/501, across from the entrance to Briar Chapel. This proposal includes a private WWTP (located off Jack Bennett) and two irrigation retention ponds. Here’s a map of the proposed community and the information letter for the Development Input Meeting. The meeting will be held in-person at the Office of Bradshaw, Robinson, Slawter on 128 Hillsboro Street. (Note, this is the same law firm that represents our developer, Newland).
Chatham County’s current strategy forces developers to provide their own wastewater solutions in lieu of a municipal or county-wide plan. This results in a piecemeal of smaller, privately owned WW systems located within residential communities and near other existing residential and commercial properties without lthe benefit of long term planning or economies of scale.
SCN Supports Study Commission to Assess NE Chatham County Wastewater Strategies
Currently NE Chatham County has 10 WWTP and like Briar Chapel’s WW system, each has its own unique problems. Several of these systems are failing to meet nutrient treatment requirements for discharge into creeks that feed into Lake Jordan, one is at maximum capacity and several others are approaching end of life and will need to be replaced. In addition, many subdivisions are using older septic systems that are approaching end of life. Whether your position is slow growth or pro-growth, NE Chatham County needs a long term, sustainable plan for wastewater.
Over the last few months, SCN has voiced their support for a proposal asking Chatham County to take a leadership role in initiating a Study Commission bringing together experts from the public and private sector to assess the wastewater situation in NE Chatham County and make recommendations for a sustainable, long term strategy.
On May 26th Chatham News & Record published the sixth in a series of articles on Chatham County water and wastewater infrastructure. They cited the impact that the WWTP has had on Briar Chapel’s home values, a risk that exists for many of the communities in NE Chatham County. They went on to explain a proposal made by Briar Chapel resident, Perry James, based on a similar approach he was involved with in his role as CFO for the City of Raleigh. The idea is to bring together experts and stakeholders to assess and develop options that could provide valuable input into Chatham County’s long term planning, including the Unified Development Ordinance currently under development in Chatham County.
Brookfield Residential Closes on Acquisition of Newland
On June 1st Brookfield Residential closed on their acquisition of Newland. Brookfield Residential is part of Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) which has $600 billion in assets, primarily land. Brookfield Residential Properties (BRP) is similar to Newland in that they are a leading land developer in North America, developing land for master-planned communities which then sell lots to third party builders or utilize their own home building operations. It appears the goal of this acquisition is to expand utilization of BAM’s land assets by significantly increasing BRP’s land development capabilities and markets. Here’s the announcement of the closing of this acquisition.
The BCCA has now spoken to Newland about this acquisition and posted the following letter from Tanya Matzen (Newland) on the acquisition. In this letter, she assures residents that Briar Chapel will continue to carry the Newland brand name and that all Newland team members will remain in place at both the corporate and community levels.
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:
· The force main bypass was certified and put into service on June 3rd. This replaces force main A which has been the source of so many pipe failures. We hope this will significantly reduce the number of sewage spills in our community.
· Work on the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) expansion is underway. ONSWC is using the existing permit, requiring expansion to 500,000 gpd. Recently the permit was approved to allow odor control improvements to be implemented as part of this expansion by the end of the year.
· Over the last week we have seen a significant number of odor complaints – 15 complaints. We asked ONSWC for information on what was causing the jump in odor conditions. They sent out a community email stating that, “As part of standard operating procedure, the digester was turned on at midnight in an effort to avoid odor issues during waking hours.”
· ONSWC’s permit gives them 318,539 gpd in permitted and certified spray irrigation. NC DEQ is reviewing two additional permit modification requests from ONSWC (which will increase spray irrigation capacity to just over 500,000 gpd) that would convert some existing spray irrigation from potable to reclaimed water (e.g., Encore residential homes) and allows the construction of some additional spray irrigation fields (area north and south of Western retention pond and in common areas within Encore and behind Cliffdale homes). In Package H (near the Western Pond), Newland has posted warning signs and placed barriers on the gravel road up to the Western pond per NCDEQ’s instruction to close access to these trails. Based on the additional information requested and received by NCDEQ we would expect this additional irrigation to be approved soon. In the meantime, irrigation in Encore will start with potable water since conversion to reclaimed water has not yet been approved.
· On June 3rd, the thunderstorm took out the motherboard on the main computer operating Briar Chapel’s reclaimed irrigation system. As a result we reported use of the irrigation system after Briar Chapel had received 1.9 inches of rain earlier that day a violation of their permit. ONSWC hopes to have the system operational by June 11th.
· ONSWC is asking that residents report spills, odor concerns and irrigation issues to ONSWC at 877-511-2911. Note, only the name has changed, the phone number to call is still the customer service group and answering service located at Integra Water’s Birmingham, AL location.
· Meeting notes were posted for the May 11th Tri-Party Council (TPC). Items to note:
o Aerial pipes over Pokeberry Creek are not supported and pose a risk if damaged/failed. Pipes were originally run under Pokeberry Creek, but due to erosion of the creek, they are now suspended over the creek without supports. TPC is asking ONSWC to address this situation. So far, Newland has not been able to provide as-built engineering plans from the original construction.
o Work is beginning on the SD-East Pump Station intended to serve the new commercial development Newland has planned for the area east and west of 15/501 near Taylor Road.
· The Tri-Party Council met on June 8th, 2021. They have not yet posted the meeting notes for that meeting.
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. To date, residents have reported over 500 complaints about spills, odor conditions, irrigation and other issues. When you have a complaint, please call ONSWC’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 (ONSWC, NCDEQ, BCCA board, First Residential, Chip White), documented and tracked.
Total amount donated: $51,430.23 (502 families contributing)
Spent to date: $42,603.06 (Legal: $35,317.50, Engineering Expert: $6,142.00, Administrative: $1,143.56)
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 incorporated non-profit 501(c)(4) social welfare 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