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Front Page » April 21, 2005 » Local News » Water improvement district reviews approval procedures
Published 3,420 days ago

Water improvement district reviews approval procedures


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By RICHARD SHAW
General manager


Two asphalt patches denote places where the road caved in during the wet winter on 1500 West in Carbonville. Last year PRWID had a contractor put in water lines in the area and during the winter a number of places where the line was put in have sunk. Recently the contractor has replaced some of the sections.

Questions about county approvals on subdivisions located within the Price River Water Improvement District's boundaries resulted in a decision about clarification of letters sent to potential developers during the PRWID board meeting on Tuesday.

At the April 19 meeting, developer Mel Coonrod brought in the plans for a subdivision near Kenilworth and explained the need for water approval concerning the 13 lots.

By the information the district had and the extra data Coonrod brought in, it appeared there would be no problem with the requested approval, according PRWID manager Phil Palmer.

Palmer said the issue would still have to be studied, but the board gave preliminary approval based on what was presented and pending findings by the administration.

The presentation, coupled with recent approvals of a number of local subdivisions by the Carbon County planning board, brought questions from the members of the PRWID panel.

"Mel is the first developer I have seen come in here to our board and ask for approval before the fact since I have been here," said PRWID member Tom Matthews. "I am wondering if maybe we should have all developers come in and talk to the board when they are planning a subdivision."

Board member Karl Houskeeper pointed out that, even though the PRWID panel may not have had direct knowledge regarding the developments, subdividers approach the district's administration on the subject.

Several questions the PRWID board members had stemmed from a recent article in the Sun Advocate concerning various stages of approval for subdivisions by the county planning panel.

One developer in the newspaper article talked about an approval letter from PRWID concerning the availability of water in the area where the subdivision is planned.

"The first letter the county needs is one on water availability," pointed out Palmer at the water improvement district meeting Tuesday. "But that letter means nothing concerning PRWID or county requirements. They just need to know we have lines that run to the area."

Palmer explained that subdividers contact the PRWID office, explained Palmer. The PRWID staff then evaluates the situation and writes a letter so the developer can take the proposed project to the county planning board.

However, Matthews was concerned about the PRWID board's involvement and knowledge as well as when letters were sent to the developers.

At issue were concerns about when the water improvement district becomes involved in the planning process.

The county has three stages to go through to approve subdivisions.

The process includes the concept stage, where the developer looks at the situation to see if the project is feasible.At that point, the developer needs to prove access to septic or sewer system and water supplies.

The second phase is the preliminary approval stage, where a plat is drawn and certain standards are met.

The last phase is the final approval stage. The third step includes final drainage plans, road standards, etc.

After the final approval phase is completed, construction can begin once building permits have been issued on the projects.

Houskeeper wondered whether some of the letters sent by the PRWID staff could have been misconstrued by developers and the county's planning board.

"Maybe we need some qualifiers in the language of the letter that doesn't constitute any of the particulars beyond what the letter is for," he stated.

Board chairman Keith Cox also suggested that for final approval developers ought to come before the PRWID board as well.

The board then voted to direct staff to create wording for future letters of approval that will spell out the limits of that approval based on the particular situation.

Another issue that arose from Coonrod's presentation was that of dividing original lots. Coonrod said that in the covenants of his development, lots could not be subdivided, or more than one residence placed on them. That statement and a discussion on the present situation concerning a new pump station that is nearly ready to put into operation mode at The Hill subdivision however raised a question from board member Betty Wheeler.

"I am concerned about this situation with splitting lots in this subdivision," she said concerning some proposals for doing that in the development under discussion. "How can they be doing that with the limited water availability?"

Palmer told the board that the area is zoned by the county for five acre lots.

"They said they will be the ones to control that," he stated. "However, we sent a letter to the counties planning and zoning administration that we could only support 16 hookups on The Hill subdivision system."

Palmer also discussed the sewer extension line construction that has been going on near Harwood Lane and 1100 North in Carbonville. He told the board that it had been done by PRWID personnel and that it was relatively finished, except for the road repaving.

"We have two ways we can complete this," he said. "Nielsen Construction says they can cut out and patch the road in the area for $12,800 or they can do a complete overlay for $13,500. I am meeting with the county tomorrow morning on it and I am pretty sure what they will want. I recommend we do the overlay."

The board voted to accept the recommendation.

The board also voted to accept a settlement from an insurance company on an accident that occurred last year when a semi-truck backed over a fire hydrant on Highway 10 and 2000 South, causing not only the hydrant to be replaced but also some work on service lines in the area. The settlement amount will be $5067.

The issue of road patches along 1500 West in Carbonville also came up again.

"I am worried that TNT (the contractor on the water line last year and the company that is responsible for any pavement failures that might occur because of the excavation) is not going down deep enough to assure compaction," said Matthews. "I worry if they are redoing these areas by just removing a little fill or just patching over the present pavement PRWID will get left holding the bag when the road fails again."

Palmer explained that the company has come back and is patching things once again because of settlement in some areas. He also said that PRWID can not hold the contractor responsible for more work as long as the requirement for compaction is at a 97 percent rate.

"That is what the county says is their standard and we are holding the contractor to that," said Palmer. "However, this year because of soil conditions mixed with the moisture we are seeing some settling on projects that we completed years ago."

Matthews said he was concerned and wanted to be sure that patching on the project roads was done correctly.



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