City, developer agree on sewer system plan

By Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer July 09, 2013 09:14 pm

After years of negotiations, plans and hearings, the city of Brookings and developers Mike Mahar and Ron Tribble have come to an agreement regarding a sewer system to the property along the North Bank of the Chetco River.

The project, still in its conceptual stages, is proposed to comprise up to 60 single-family residences on 14 acres along the first half-mile east of the Chetco River bridge, with the option of another 157 homes in the future.

The only stumbling block for construction has been the cost of a sewer system to the property.

“You’ve seen this several times over several years,” Public Works and Development Director Loree Pryce told city council members at their regular Monday night meeting. “In the past, the proposals presented with several lift stations and other things not typical for the City of Brookings. This one is.”

Over the years, Tribble, a Eugene dentist, and Mahar, of Medford, have offered a variety of potential solutions, including the idea in 2011 of a septic tank effluent pumping system, whose cost is borne by each homeowner after purchasing a lot. But each home served by STEP sewers would have its own tank and pump system, which would have been operated and maintained by the city.

The most recent proposal presented to the city in March 2012 was to pursue a traditional gravity system, linking the Mahar/Tribble property to city lines.

The sewer project will include one lift station with sufficient capacity to serve the project and possible future expansion to a maximum of 217 homes and one pressurized 3-inch main between the development and existing city infrastructure.

A second component of the agreement calls for approximately 3,500 linear feet of 8-inch main and the dedication of land big enough to accommodate a larger lift station in the future. The cost of the work is unknown at this time, City Manager Gary Milliman noted in a memo to council.

“The first few ideas weren’t anything we agreed with,” Council Member Brent Hodges said Monday. “We’re getting a good deal, and they’re getting a good deal. This will help development up the road for years and years to come. It’s good to see some development up there.”

The latest agreement — the ninth — will be similar to the one into which the city entered with U.S. Borax for its 553-home Lone Ranch development at the north end of town. It requires Tribble install all infrastructure improvements from his project site to the closest sewer main at Lundeen Lane and be reimbursed for his costs as new development taps into the system.

It also requires Tribble apply for annexation into the city. At that point, Pryce said, more details about the development will be forthcoming.

Council members made an exception to the municipal statutes requiring that any reimbursement be paid 10 years after the infrastructure is built — this project will have a 20-year timeline — due to  the high initial cost of the investment, Pryce said.

“This really has run its course,” said Mayor Ron Hedenskog of the time put into the project. “It’s made everyone do their work to get it down to something that’s acceptable to everyone.”