Council rejects request to hook to sewer system
The uncertain future of the city's sewage treatment plant is forcing city officials to turn away potential customers.
On Monday, the city council voted, 3-2, against allowing a proposed Wyandotte County residential development to connect to Basehor's sewer system. President John Bonee and council member Keith Sifford were in favor of the plan, and council member Terry Thomas was absent. Mayor Chris Garcia broke the tie.
Plans call for 200 residential units in the 60-acre subdivision, which is northeast of Leavenworth Road and Kansas Highway 7.
W. Robert Comp Jr., a representative from Naunpareil, a real estate development company, said the firm was seeking help from Basehor because Kansas City, Kan., cannot accommodate the development -- nor does that city have plans to build the infrastructure necessary to handle the subdivision.
Gene Myracle, city superintendent, said that in order for the subdivision to hook onto Basehor's sewer system, a force main would have to run from the north corner of the subdivision, go under K-7 and run west down Donahoo Road to the Falcon Lakes sewage lift station.
"To me, the timing on this is just terrible," council member Bill Hooker said. "I don't see how we can say this is something we're interested in now."
However, Sifford disagreed, suggesting that taking on the subdivision would help accelerate the wastewater plant expansion.
"It would certainly give us the motivation to get this done," Sifford said. "I think the timing is actually pretty good."
City Administrator Carl Slaugh said the Basehor system could handle the extra flow from the subdivision through the Falcon Lakes lift station, but a larger line would be required west of 155th Street before other subdivisions in the area such as Falcon Lakes and High Point Downs were fully developed. He said the developer agreed to cover the cost of the larger line.
Comp said the first house probably would be completed in a year.
"It's not our intention to force ourselves on the city of Basehor," Comp said. "As one development, I don't think we're contributing enough to max out your plant."
However, Slaugh said that because the sewage treatment plant already is near capacity, there would be some risk of exceeding capacity because of units already planned within the city.
Council member Iris Dysart said plats already approved within the city limits should be the city's top priority. She said she did not want to approve anything that would hinder development within the city, especially the conceptual plan for downtown Basehor.
"I don't think there is any possible way that we could consider bringing in somebody from outside the county," she said.
Bonee said he was torn on the decision, adding he would like to tentatively approve the development's use of the Basehor sewer system.
"We have a dilemma, and it just gets more in our face as time goes on," he said. "The last thing I want to do is hang a closed sign on Basehor and not take anymore development."
Some council members said they were worried that once word got out that the city had tentatively allowed an outside development to connect to the sewer system, others would follow, causing a back up.
Garcia made the final decision, saying the city needed to determine how to handle its sewer situation before taking on other developments.
In other business Monday, the council:
- Tabled, 3-1, with Sifford opposed, a 2007 pay and benefit plan for city employees until more information could be obtained on pay and benefit plans in comparable cities.
- Met in executive session for 35 minutes to discuss land acquisition and personnel matters.