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home : news : business July 20, 2019

4/7/2019 3:04:00 PM
Commissioners Apply 'Brakes' To Development

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

As the old saying goes, 'a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.' Those who have followed the news of the Lincoln County Commissioners meetings and the multiple discussions--at public hearings on zoning requests, at discussions about road projects, at budget planning sessions where water & sewer system expansions have been discussed, and at joint meetings with the Board of Education to talk about current and future school needs related to the rapid development in southeastern Lincoln County--are by now very familiar with some of what has happened and with the continuing problems that are most often a part of Commission meetings.

On Monday night April 1st, Commissioner Rich Permenter made a motion aimed at slowing some of the residential growth in the area.  Permenter's motion, approved unanimously, means that no permits for connection to the County's sewer system will be issued beyond those projects that have already been given such approval until the sewer treatment facilities expansion is completed sometime later next year.  

Those builders who have already been given assurance of a connection will be able to proceed--but those who have not will have to wait, and since you can't get a building permit for a new home until you have either a permit for a sewer connection or a septic tank approval, it is likely that the change will have some effect on the rapid building already going on and other possible proposals.  'Some' may be the important word here--because there are already multitudes of new homes for which sewer permits have been promised.

For anyone not familiar, Commissioner Permenter and former Commissioner Martin Oakes had proposed a moratorium on new developments back in 2017--but gave up on that idea because the County attorney questioned whether such a moratorium would be upheld by the courts--similar moves had not in other locales.  Oakes was present in the audience Monday when Permenter made his motion.

After the approval of multiple new developments over the last few years, some have questioned what--if anything--Commissioners can do to slow the growth, hopefully giving infrastructure time to 'catch up.'  

Two of the big developments currently underway are the D.R. Horton development at Ingleside off Highway 73 just west of Trilogy and another by Essex Homes off North Little Egypt Road near East Lincoln High School.  When completed, those two housing projects that could bring 637 new homes to the area. 

The biggest of the growth problems for the area appears to be traffic.  It's certainly the issue about which most talk.  Permenter had also proposed that the County add more funds to an amount already set aside for helping with planning studies for road projects in the hope that such additional input from the County might help persude the Dept. of Transportation to move projects in the area up on their list.  

Permenter announced at the meeting April 1st that he will hold a public get-together at the East Lincoln Community Center this Thursday evening at 6:30 to talk with constituents about what is being done, what can be done, and any new ideas the public might offer in helping to meet the needs and problems caused by the rapid growth.  

The East Lincoln Betterment Association also has a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday April 30th (6:30 PM) also at the East Lincoln Community Center on Optimist Club Road. 

Permenter emphasized that the change in sewer permit issuance does not affect businesses or industries that might want to locate in the area.  Commissioners had earlier set aside a portion of the available connections for that purpose.  "I'm not against growth," he said, "but for now we need to apply the brakes, slow down a bit and give our infrastructure a chance to adjust to what has already been approved."

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