Sewer Deal Likely To Lead To Berlin Land Annexation

BERLIN – A tentative agreement reached this week between the town of Berlin and the developer of the old Tyson plant on Route 346 to construct a second wastewater treatment plant on the site will pave the way for the annexation of the property.

The Town Council on Wednesday approved a memorandum of understanding forged by the Berlin Utility Commission (BUC) and Troy Purnell, developer of the proposed Crossroads project on the site of the old Tyson chicken plant on Route 346. According to the memorandum, Purnell will construct a wastewater treatment plant on the site with a capacity of 150,000 gallons per day to serve the Crossroads project, a mixed-use development with a proposed 300 homes and roughly 100,000 square feet of commercial space.

Upon completion of the construction of the plant, it will be deeded over to Berlin, essentially becoming a second municipal wastewater treatment plant for the town. Berlin’s existing wastewater treatment plant is nearing capacity and is close to reaching the state-mandated threshold for expansion, and the construction of the second plant at the Berlin Properties North site should relieve some of the pressure on the existing plant while providing Purnell with the capacity he needs to move his project forward in what appears to be a win-win situation for both parties.

“I understand both parties are in agreement?” Council President Gee Williams asked BUC Chairman Rick Baldwin, who presented the memorandum of understanding to the elected officials. “We’re sure both parties are comfortable with what’s in here.”

Baldwin explained the memorandum agreement was reached after months of careful deliberation between the BUC and the developer. Purnell had been biding his time waiting for the town to sort out its sewer capacity issues before stepping up with the plan to construct his own plant and turn it over to the town.

“I know both parties are comfortable with this memorandum of understanding,” said Baldwin. “There are still some things to work out, but there is no reason to believe we won’t get it done.”

The memorandum of understanding on the sewer plant construction is a necessary first step in an effort to annex the old Tyson plant into the town of Berlin. As it stands now, the property owned by Purnell’s Berlin Properties North (BPN) is part of the county at-large.

“This is step toward working on an annexation agreement,” said Williams. “The BUC will continue to work with the developer to move this memorandum forward.