Steps taken for Roger Road sewer project
The council unanimously approved the resolution to initiate funding for preliminary engineering and outreach efforts for the Rogers Road sewer project.
Per the approval of the resolution, the public hearing on the Rogers Road sewer project will reconvene June 16.
“(This date) forces us to keep it on the agenda and to keep us making decisions and that’s something we need to do right now,” said Councilman Lee Storrow.
Since annexation isn’t the goal of this proposed extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) boundary expansion, the council wants other, more appropriate options.
“It’s a means to an end, not the mechanism we want,” said Councilwoman Sally Greene. “There are a lot of questions to work out. We need to think about the goal, focus on that and do what we can now.”
“Chapel Hill has made a firm commitment,” council member Donna Bell said. “The question isn’t ‘are we going to participate’. The question is ‘how are going to participate’. If other options are available, we should consider them.”
According to the Historic Rogers Road Task Force Final Report, sewer services for the 86 parcels in the neighborhood will cost an estimated $5.8 million with Chapel Hill and Orange County providing 43 percent each and Carrboro the remaining 14 percent.
The approved measures come with a price tag estimated between $160,000 and $180,000, covering several activities including surveying, sub-surfacing, conceptual layout, finding buried utilities, and keeping the community informed throughout the entire process.
“The recommendation allows us to start doing something,” said Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil. “The outreach and the surveying will give the deeper information needed. Without that information, we don’t know the costs or where lines can go.”
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said that unlike tax dollars, the Community Development Block Grant funds being used have to adhere to very specific guidelines.
“It’s about figuring out the mechanism for providing for that funding,” he said.
Councilman George Cianciolo said that eight to 10 months is too far away for the continued public hearing, “but the information in June wouldn’t be useful.”
Cianciolo suggested that a meeting in early September that the board give the public an update on the work that’s been done and “a clearer understanding of where we’re going.”
Storrow said that the council should “determine the mechanism for how the town will participate before we break for the summer” and believed that the town staff would be equipped prior to June 31 to look at optional mechanisms.
Stancil explained that the work approved by the council is necessary for any sort of development in the Rogers Road area regardless of when it’s done.
Now that the council has approved it, Stancil said that the next step is for Orange County and Carrboro to consider the proposal and notify Orange Water and Sewer Authority by March 30 and for OWASA to issue a Request for Qualifications by June 1 with all of the work to be completed between October and December of this year.