Sewer debate surrounds Prime plan

The district wants the developer to wait until after the Nov. 4 election.
Thursday, October 23, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:24 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Developer Robert Smith wants to talk.

Smith on Tuesday asked that the Boone County Commission table a proposed rezoning of 200 acres off Route WW east of Columbia until Dec. 2 so he can meet with neighbors and county sewer officials.

Smith, president of Prime Development Corp., wants to build 250 homes and 70 duplexes on land east of El Chaparral and Concorde Estates subdivisions and to set aside 24 acres for commercial development and an Elks Lodge.

After hearing complaints from neighbors about potential traffic problems, the development’s proximity to an elementary school and privacy issues, however, the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission turned down the rezoning request on Oct. 16. Smith said Tuesday that he’s appealing that decision to the county commission.

Aside from neighbors’ reservations, sewer service is another major obstacle Smith must overcome. At the Tuesday meeting of the Boone County Regional Sewer District, Prime Development representatives tried to persuade district officials to allow sewers from the planned subdivision to hook into a lagoon serving El Chaparral and a waste-water treatment plant serving Concorde Estates.

Speaking for the developer, Chad Sayre of Allstate Consultants said Prime would cover the cost of combining those two systems to serve the development. He said the move would add nearly 400 customers to the district’s current billing list of 5,400, creating an extra $700,000 in revenue over 10 years.

“The extensions would pay for themselves,” he said.

Complicating the matter, however, is the fact that the area’s sewer system is one project proposed by the district and the city of Columbia as part of bond issues on the Nov. 4 ballot. If voters approve, the district and the city plan to extend a city sewer line to the area by 2005 and eliminate the existing waste-water treatment plant and lagoon. Sewer planners would rather see Prime wait and tap into the city’s sewer.

But Smith doesn’t want to wait, leaving the two sides at a stalemate.

“They want to get development going as fast as possible,” Tom Ratermann, manager of the district, said. “There are four parties involved in this — the developer, the city, the sewer district and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. It’s got to be a win-win situation for all entities.”

Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said the sewer district should wait until after the election to decide. “We’ll know better in two weeks where we are,” he said.

City and district sewer officials plan to meet with Smith on Friday.

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