To the Residents of Briar Chapel,
In this email you will find information about:
1. Upcoming Chatham County Board of Commissioner’s (CCBOC) vote to allow Fearrington Preserve to apply for development under the Compact Community Ordinance (CCO) and its potential impact on Briar Chapel’s wastewater system.
2. Upcoming information session on Living with a WWTP and Reclaimed Water being offered at Breakaway on November 14th and November 21st from 4-6pm.
3. Updates on the Tri-Party Council.
November 15th CCBOC Meeting – Fearrington Preserve
At the November 15th CCBOC meeting, Fearrington Preserve’s application for an amendment to the Compact Community Ordinance (CCO) Map is up for final approval. In short, approval of this application would allow Congruus to apply for development under the CCO – which encourages them to use existing wastewater systems in their surrounding area.
The CC Planning department has recommended approval and the CC Planning Board (made up of resident volunteers) has recommended denial of the application. Due to additional information submitted by the applicant (Congruus) since the Public Hearing, the CCBOC has agreed to allow residents to speak during Public Input, despite their recent rule changes. Residents can also submit written comments to the CC commissioners via Lindsay.email@example.com or attend the meeting in person to demonstrate resident’s concerns about this proposal. More information on how to provide Public Input, submit written comments or attend the meeting are provided below.
At the Oct. 5th CC Planning Board meeting, Randy Voller (representative for Congruus) presented some additional information found in this document. He is proposing three options for providing wastewater service to Fearrington Preserve:
1. First option involves providing land within Fearrington Preserve for a regional WWTP for use by Fearrington Preserve, possibly repurposing of the Briar Chapel WWTP and Fearrington Village WWTP, and service to aging septic systems in the surrounding area. Note, the developer does not plan to pay for it, build it, or operate it; rather they are offering land to the Wastewater Study Commission who would then have to work out financing, ownership and management of a regional facility. In exchange for making this land available they require access to the Fearrington Village discharge permit and cooperation among ONSWC, Fitch Creations, municipal and county governments and community associations. This is an unrealistic plan and has not been vetted. To date, there have been no agreements between Congruus and the key parties required for this plan: ONSWC, Fitch Creations, NCDEQ and NCUC. As much as we would like to see this plan become a reality, the truth is this option depends on a lot of variables and if successful, will take time. Fearrington Preserve wants to move forward with development more quickly than this option will require and as a result, this offer would require Fearrington Preserve to gain capacity on the Briar Chapel WW system before this option could be seriously considered.
2. The second option involves connecting to Briar Chapel as an extended service area. Fearrington Preserve is located within the extended service area map filed by Newland (Briar Chapel Utilities, LLC) in 2008. The Public Staff with NCUC assures us that given the history of problems with the Briar Chapel system, this request would be closely examined but can provide no assurances of the outcome.
3. The final option is for Congruus to build a small WWTP to be used only by Fearrington Preserve. Of the three options presented, we believe this third option, Fearrington Preserve taking responsibility for their own wastewater solution is the only fair and viable solution.
We encourage residents to speak out on this application. Concerned residents have three options for opposing this application:
1. Sign up to speak during Public Input at the Nov. 15th CCBOC meeting. Speakers need to pre-register at this link. Select the Nov. 15th meeting and Public Input during regular session. Note, each speaker will only be given two minutes for comments.
2. Residents can submit written comments to the CC commissioners via email to Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org. These comments will be entered into the public record.
3. Residents can make a show of numbers in opposition to this application by attending the CCBOC meeting on November 15th at 6pm at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse (located at the circle in Pittsboro). All attendees are required to wear masks.
If you decide to speak or send written comments, we would suggest the following talking points:
· Wastewater continues to be a concern in NE Chatham County. It would be irresponsible to approve another development in this area without a clear and acceptable plan for wastewater.
· This request includes parcels that are either entirely outside or bisected by the CCO map and more importantly the 2017 Land Use map. The Congruus request is inconsistent with both the CCO ordinance and the 2017 Land Use plan and if approved opens the door to compact residential development beyond the designated areas.
· Congruus has not presented a site plan. Given they are asking for an expansion of the CCO map to allow them to propose their development under the CCO ordinance, a preliminary site map would be helpful in determining if they are planning to meet the full requirements of a compact community under the CCO ordinance.
· Fearrington Preserve as proposed does not have access to a major highway, only Parker Herndon and Andrews Store Rd. These roads are already heavily congested due to the four schools that are located at or near their intersection. Adding additional development dependent on these roads will only add to the congestion in the area.
Living with a WWTP and Reclaimed Water
An interactive information session titled “Living with a WWTP and Reclaimed Water: What I Should Know and Why I Should Care” has now been scheduled. We are offering two sessions to accommodate the number of people who have asked to attend. The first session scheduled for Sunday, November 14th from 4-6 pm is full and a second session has been scheduled for Sunday, November 21st from 4-6pm. These sessions will be held at Breakaway Café and are open to residents throughout NE Chatham County. Presenters include: Dr. Hal House (a local environmental scientist), Rich Hayes (a local soil scientist) and Liz Rolison (StopChathamNorth) with Amy Coughlin moderating these discussions. Attendees are asked to RSVP to email@example.com.
The initial questions these sessions are hoping to answer, include:
· How does a wastewater system work?
· What have been the problems with the Briar Chapel wastewater system and what can we learn from them?
· What can the residents of Chatham County do to advocate effectively for responsible wastewater management?
· What role has politics played in Chatham County wastewater issues?
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. 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. SCN Comment: 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 growth 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 has published test results of the irrigation system so far this year: July 14th at Boulder Park, July 28th at the median on BC Parkway/ Serenity Hill, Aug 17th at Great Meadow Park and Aug 27th in Briar Commons. They tested for ammonia-nitrogen, BOD and fecal coliform. All tests were within contaminant limits for effluent set by NCDEQ. BCCA is planning to test soon in the newly certified areas in Encore (16 South).
· ONSWC verified that the encasement pipe on the aerial sewer lines over Pokeberry Creek extends for 100 ft in one direction and 200 feet in the other direction. A structural engineer is now being engaged to determine what actions should be taken to assure the integrity of the pipe.
· Work on the SD-East Pump station is nearing completion. This pump station will be used by the commercial areas under development by Newland east and west of 15/501 near Taylor Road.
· Meeting notes were posted for the September 14th meeting. SCN Comment: It is interesting to note that Jerry Cole raised the issue about erosion and landscaping challenges on several of the properties turned over to the BCCA prior to the transition to the homeowner board. Tanya Matzen, of Newland, responded that Newland is working with CC Watershed on the erosion issues, but states that the landscaping is the responsibility of the BCCA since the property was turned over several years ago.
The last meeting of the Tri-Party Council was on October 12th. Meeting notes are not yet available from that meeting. The next meeting of the Tri-Party Council is scheduled for November 9th.
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 and press “1” for customer service. 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 of 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