To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
In this email you will find information about:
1. Updates on the September 7th public hearing for Fearrington Preserve and Vickers Village proposals at the Chatham County Planning Board (CC PB) meeting and next steps on these proposals.
2. Updates on the upcoming September 20th public hearing for Herndon Farms proposal at the Chatham County Board of Commissioners (CC BOC) meeting.
3. Updates on the Tri-Party Council.
Public Hearing Fearrington Preserve and Vickers Village
On September 7th, Chatham County Planning Board (CC PB) held public hearings for applications from Fearrington Preserve and Vickers Village to extend the compact community map to include additional property from Fearrington Preserve and Vickers Village, allowing them to propose their developments under the Compact Community Ordinance (CCO). Vickers Village’s plans include a wastewater (WW) facility dedicated for their development. Fearrington Preserve has not yet finalized its plans for wastewater but hopes to request a contiguous service area extension to connect to either Briar Chapel’s or Fearrington Village’s WW system. Both of these requests had already been recommended for approval by the Chatham County Planning Department.
Fearrington Preserve and Vickers Village are contiguous to Briar Chapel property. These requests are essentially rezoning requests, but will set precedence in allowing other property to be added to the compact community map that is contiguous to Briar Chapel. This is important because if the owner of the Briar Chapel WW system (ONSWC) were to decide to expand service to these contiguous areas, it is a relatively easy process to get approval from the state (NC Utilities Commission).
At last night’s public hearing, speaking in opposition to these requests were three SCN members, Shelley Colbert (former BCCA board member), Jennifer Drake (current BCCA board member), Rose Krasnow (Fearrington Village HOA), Stacey Donelan (BC resident) and several residents from Vickers Road and Parker Herndon area. We are also aware of several Briar Chapel residents who submitted written statements. Our thanks to the BCCA and BC residents for speaking out.
An important part of last night’s discussion involved the 2017 Chatham County Comprehensive Land Use Plan which lays out a vision for Chatham County going forward. This document contains a map that shows the land use plans for Chatham County. On this map, Briar Chapel is surrounded by an area designated as compact residential. When the Land Use Plan was adopted, this essentially expanded the Compact Community Ordinance Map to cover a larger area, signaling Chatham County’s plans for significantly more growth in our area.
The CC PB voted 7-4 to approve Vickers Village request for the CCO Map and text amendment, because their entire property fell within the 2017 Land Use map’s compact residential area. Fearrington Preserve includes two parcels that do not fall within this revised map, so the CC PB voted 10-1 to table the request for their next meeting on Tuesday, October 5th allowing more time to gather additional information. They are concerned about the precedent that would be set if they approve additional property to be added to the compact residential area and the impact on already overstressed infrastructure in this area, namely wastewater and roads.
If approved, the next step will be for the developer to submit detailed plans for their development under the CCO to obtain a conditional use permit. This is where their specific plans for wastewater will have to be laid out, including documentation that shows that the owner of one of these wastewater systems has agreed to provide capacity to Fearrington Preserve from their wastewater system; otherwise, they will need plans for building their wastewater system to gain approval for their permit.
We sent information on Fearrington Preserve’s proposal to John McDonald (owner of the Briar Chapel WW system). Once again, we asked Mr. McDonald if he has any plans to allow communities outside of Briar Chapel to use the Briar Chapel WW system. He responded, “To date we have turned away all inquiries about connecting to the Briar Chapel system. There are no current discussions with developers.” We genuinely appreciate his response and hope that he continues to take this position. On Sept. 2nd, we asked Mr. McDonald if he would be willing to submit a public statement to Chatham County officials confirming this position. We have not had a response.
Similarly, the Fearrington Village HOA has made an inquiry to their wastewater system owner (Fitch Creations) about whether the owner planned to provide capacity to Fearrington Preserve and received the following response: “First, Fitch Creations, Inc., either in its capacity as the developer of Fearrington Village or as the owner of Fearrington Utilities, is not involved with this project. Second, Fearrington Utilities’ waste treatment plant is nearing capacity and for that reason cannot consider connecting to wastewater collection systems outside our service area, which is defined by the North Carolina Utilities Commission as being only Fearrington Village. We are in the planning stages of upgrading the plant but this renovation will not increase treatment capacity.”
For those of you not aware of where these proposed developments are located: Fearrington Preserve owns the property that includes: Durham Farms (which backs up to Hawk Point Rd in Briar Chapel) runs down to Andrews Store Rd, across Andrews Store Rd along and behind the Chatham County Park and then down on the east and west sides of Parker Herndon Road (map) and Vickers Village is located between Vickers Road and Jack Bennett Road along 15/501, across from the entrance to Briar Chapel (map). The Vickers Village proposal includes a private WWTP, two irrigation retention ponds and discharge using spray irrigation of reclaimed water along Briar Chapel Community Association and Veranda property.
Public Hearing for Herndon Farms
On Monday, September 20th at 6pm the CC BOC will hold a 2nd public hearing on Herndon Farms, a proposed development for a 55+ compact community with 161 residential units, congregate care facility, and office/daycare. This proposed development is located on the east and west sides of 15/501 just across from and north of the Veranda. (Site Plan/Map)
Herndon Farms has submitted a revised detailed application for their development. Herndon Farms is proposing to build their own WWTP that would be located just north of the power easement, adjacent to Briar Chapel property. Initially, they had requested rezoning for the plant for Light Industrial to allow them to offer access to surrounding development. They have now withdrawn that application, the wastewater system will only serve Herndon Farms. Like Briar Chapel, all of the treated effluent will be discharged through spray irrigation on the property.
We oppose the location selected for the WWTP since it is close to the Veranda and public hiking and biking trails on Briar Chapel property. We welcome residents to submit a public statement or speak at the public hearing to register their position on this development proposal. More information on how to attend, join this meeting online, or sign up to speak can be found at this link when we get closer to the date of the meeting.
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 on the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) expansion to 500,000 gpd is on schedule and expects to be completed by the end of the year. NCDEQ has approved the permit to allow the odor control improvements to be added as part of this expansion.
· NC DEQ has issued the permit approving additional spray irrigation packages H, I, and J which when constructed, certified, and fully operational will provide up to 552,806 gpd capacity to our spray irrigation system. Construction for Package H has begun and covers property around the Western retention pond and near the end of Logbridge Rd. This area will be heavily irrigated and will not allow trails in these spray irrigation areas. Packages I and J include: conversion of Encore homeowner irrigation from potable to reclaimed water, Encore common areas and the woods surrounding Encore, behind Cliffdale/Whispering Wind and the Sports Courts area. Note, the permit does not allow year round irrigation for some zones within the community and does not allow use of the irrigation system during major rain events or during freezing temperatures. It also discourages the growing of edible crops: vegetables, herbs and fruit trees in areas that are irrigated with reclaimed water unless they are thermally processed before consumption.
· The BCCA will do irrigation sampling and testing in Encore and other areas of the community for fecal coliform, biological oxygen demand (BOD) and ammonia-nitrogen.
· ONSWC is verifying whether the encasement pipe on the aerial sewer lines over Pokeberry Creek extends for 200-300 ft on either side. If so, ONSWC engineers believe the chance of failure would be markedly reduced. Note, these sewer lines were originally installed under the creek but due to erosion have become aerial and unsupported. These lines have been cited by TetraTech as a high priority risk.
· Recently we have seen a jump in the number of odor complaints we are receiving from around the Briar Chapel WWTP. We have reached out to ONSWC to ask for an explanation of why the odor conditions have increased.
· Work has begun on the SD-East Pump station to support connections from the commercial areas under development by Newland east and west of 15/501 near Taylor Road.
· The last meeting of the Tri-Party Council was on August 10th. Meeting notes are not yet available from that meeting. The next meeting of the Tri-Party Council is scheduled for September 14th.
Documenting our Concerns
We are extremely thankful for the information shared with us by BC residents. 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 documented and shared with all the appropriate parties (ONSWC, NCDEQ, BCCA, First Residential, Chip White).
Total amount donated: $51,966.85 (507 families contributing)
Spent to date: $42,603.06 (Legal: $35,317.50, Engineering Expert: $6,142.00, Administrative: $1,143.56)
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