Talk of eminent domain and condemnation of private property for a new town sewer treatment plant came quickly off the table at a Cedaredge Town Board work session March 14. Instead, a new location on the golf course 11th green has been proposed for the plant.
The town has evaluated 12 siting options for the new sewer plant, all of which present substantial drawbacks. So, rather than inviting strong political or legal opposition to a final choice, the three trustees who attended last Thursday's public comment work session took a different approach.
A 13th site location option has been proposed, and more work on the $20,000 study will be done, looking at two or three of the other proposed sites to determine if additional engineering can make them less costly and more feasible.
The proposed new, 13th location is on land that currently serves as the 11th green of the Cedaredge Golf Course. Placing a sewer plant there would eliminate political opposition from the golf course residential community because it is farther from dwellings. But it would add infrastructure costs compared with another golf course site that is the engineers' recommended choice, and it would require land purchase and construction costs to rebuild a new 11th hole.
Golf Course resident George Squires suggested that additional land would not be needed if the course was reconfigured within its present boundaries and made into a par-71 instead of a par-72. Golf Pro Larry Murphy said that option would be unpopular with golfers who want to play on a standard par-72 golf course.
Engineers presented some technical details of their proposed plant design. All of the sewage treatment operations would be placed below ground level underneath a service/maintenance building. The configuration is similar to ones uses by Aspen and other communities and will virtually eliminate any odors coming from the plant, they said. The above-ground building could easily be made attractive and appropriate to its setting.
The engineers noted that a similar sewer plant at Crested Butte is located literally "a stone's throw away" from high-value residential property. The plant has not hurt quality of life or property values – two accusations being leveled by golf course residents against the most economical of the proposed plant sites along the golf course 10th fairway.
The final details of the engineers' study are not in yet. Still, Trustees Ray Hanson and Nancy Sturgill have already stated their total opposition to the engineers' recommended site location along the golf course 10th fairway, which is the most economical option.
Some people at the trustees' work session said the 10th fairway site would require rebuilding Jay Avenue bridge for construction access, thus adding to costs. But the one-lane bridge on Jay Avenue has been known to be inadequate and unsafe for two decades without any action being taken. Also, there is other access to the 10th fairway site available for temporary construction traffic.
Mayor pro-tem Gene Welch explained to golf course residents at the work session that he must represent all of the people in town. He said that citizens in other Cedaredge neighborhoods are asking him why they would have to pay more for the sewer because a small number of residents at the golf course are complaining about the plant's location there.
Welch also said he thinks that a new sewer plant could add an additional $12 to $18 per month to residents' monthly sewer charges. That would be on top of the $15-per-month increases already added to help pay for the new sewer plant
During the trustees' work session, Hanson suggested that engineers provide an estimate of costs for tunneling a sewer outflow line from two or three of the proposed sites. The sites, located off of Old Goat Trail Road, are separated from the Surface Creek discharge point by a high ridge. Engineering estimates for the cost of pumping effluent from the sites over the ridge using a 72-horsepower electric motor makes them to expensive to operate.
Hanson and Nancy Sturgill noted the critical importance of the sewer plant decision for the community's future extending out 30 years. But, for the second time, half of the town trustees were absent from a public forum on an important community topic.
Hanson and Sturgill said they are ready to begin eliminating site options from the list beginning with the engineer's top recommendation. Sturgill, after proposing eminent domain condemnation of a proposed site at Highway 65 and Hamilton Road, said that she would also eliminate that one from consideration after the town was given notice from the owners of likely legal pushback against condemnation.blog comments powered by Disqus