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Cleveland Highway development discussion focuses on sewer

POSTED: December 11, 2007 7:19 a.m.

Gainesville City Council members spent about half an hour discussing a proposed Cleveland Highway development at their nearly two-hour-long work session this morning.

Rusty Ligon, Gainesville’s planning director, presented the planning and appeals board’s unanimous vote of approval for Cleveland Highway, LLC’s application to annex a 9.35-acre tract of land that borders the city’s northern limits. The developer wants to rezone the land to build an 18-lot subdivision that utilizes a community septic system.

Council members questioned Ligon about the effectiveness of the community septic system.

Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras also asked Public Utilities Director Kelly Randall, who is not usually present for matters of zoning and planning, to stay for the discussion.

Mayor Robert “Bob” Hamrick asked why the city would not require the developers to use sanitary sewer.

At this point, adding sanitary sewer to that area would be cost-prohibitive to the developer, Randall said.

But if the development is approved, Randall suggested that the city operate and maintain the septic system.

The advantage of a community septic system over individual septic systems, Randall said, was that when the city was able to add sanitary sewer to the community, the lines would already be in place, and all the city would have to do is tie the community system onto the public system.

“The homeowners would be sewer customers from the very beginning,” Randall said. Randall said that if the community septic system was dedicated to the city, it would create public accountability. If anything went wrong with the septic system, Randall said, then the city would be able to deal with it, rather than waiting on homeowners.

The city could use the community septic system as a prototype for future developments that were not yet within an affordable range of sewerage lines, Randall said. City Manager Bryan Shuler said the city would eventually be able to extend the sanitary sewer system to the development.

“Over time, you know you’re going to get there,” Shuler said.

The council will have to vote on the proposed development at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.



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