Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

County leaders work toward sewer solution

April 2, 2008

Representatives from Leavenworth County, the city of Basehor, the Basehor-Linwood School District and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment met Monday at the Leavenworth County Courthouse in an attempt to reach a resolution for an overcapacity sewer district south of Basehor city limits.

KDHE officials have notified the county that a wastewater lagoon in Sewer District No. 3, which services the Glenwood Estates subdivision southeast of the intersection of Evans Road and 158th Street and the Glenwood Ridge Elementary School on 157th Terrace, has discharged above permitted levels, and its operating license will not be up for renewal this year.

The sewer district will take on additional runoff, too, once a new Basehor-Linwood middle school is completed by what USD 458 superintendent Bob Albers said could be 2010.

Jeff Lamfers, of KDHE's northeast district office, requested a timetable for decommissioning the lagoon in Sewer District No. 3 and diverting flows to the Basehor sewer system during Monday's meeting.

Leavenworth County Public Works director Mike Spickelmier said a study by Olathe-based Ponzer-Youngquist in May 2006 outlined the decommissioning of the sewer district's lagoon at a projected cost of approximately $370,000.

Spickelmier added a revised proposal by Basehor staff is now on the table at a projected $550,000, and, he said, cost implications for the county "are making things a little difficult."

The county engineer said instead of rebuilding the existing low-pressure system, the Basehor proposal would lay sewer lines for a gravity system and build a new lift station that would ultimately discharge into a lift station utilized by the Cedar Falls subdivision, also south of Basehor.

Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh said the new sewer line would cut through property owned by J.R. Evans, who according to Slaugh is interested in developing land in Basehor's southward growth area.

County Counselor David Van Parys noted that, while the cost of using the Basehor proposal would be more than the Ponzer-Youngquist proposal, it would not necessarily translate into higher assessments on homeowners in the Glenwood Estates subdivision, as those assessments would be spread out among a greater number of property owners.

"The (Basehor) plan appears to offer a longer-term solution for the wastewater needs of the city," Van Parys said. "It would allow for new homes to be brought into the system : and would allow for growth of the school district."

Glenwood Estates Homeowners' Association President David Freeman said he was all for the Basehor plan.

"Expansion growth in that area has to happen sooner or later," he said. " : I think the homeowners' association would just like this finalized and taken care of because the cost just gets worse every year."

Commissioner J.C. Tellefson raised another issue by asking how much the Basehor-Linwood School District would be charged for hooking onto the sewer system.

Slaugh confirmed that a $29,000 connection fee would be levied.

According to Spickelmier, that fee is what five residential lots would pay for wastewater treatment and is derived at using a population equivalence formula.

He questioned whether it was a fair and equitable amount.

"I think you need to take a look at the number of students in the school and adjust that formula," Commissioner Clyde Graeber instructed Slaugh.

Although the matter was not fully resolved Monday, county commissioners did vote unanimously to proceed with the Basehor proposal, develop an interlocal agreement between the city and county, determine how to adequately assign fees for connection and usage, determine how to best adjust the boundaries of Sewer District No. 3 and contact KDHE in regard to funding options and a timetable for construction.

Spickelmier made sure to emphasize, however, "We (the county) are allowing no further development to occur on the existing lagoon as it stands today."

In other business Monday, the board accepted, 3-0, an appeal from a landowner wanting to subdivide property that lies in the County Road 1 moratorium area.

The moratorium or "planning pause" prevents development, including any platting, one and a half miles east and west of County Road 1, a half-mile south of Kansas Highway 32 and a half-mile north of Kansas Avenue.

John Reischman, who, along with six siblings, holds land in trust on property south of Evans Road and east of 234th Street, was the person requesting an appeal Monday.

According to planning and zoning director Chris Dunn, the smallest parcel being divided by the Reischman family is approximately 48 acres.

The family will, in turn, dedicate right-of-way along Evans Road as well as utility easements to the county, Dunn said.

He added, "I don't see the county being on the downside of this in any way."

Commissioner Tellefson further noted that, because of steep slopes on the Reischman property, it probably could not be used for any other purpose than its current designation: agriculture.

Tellefson said of the appeal, "It solves some potential problems 20 years from now."

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