BERLIN – Developer Berlin Properties North (BPN) and the town of Berlin must begin a new round of negotiations over the Tyson chicken plant property annexation now that the two wastewater plant scenario has been reduced to one.
BPN’s Troy Purnell went before the Berlin Mayor and Council Monday and confused the council members with a request to begin negotiations on the annexation of the chicken plant property into Berlin without the on-site wastewater treatment plant.
The town had already been in negotiations with BPN and Purnell over the annexation for several months. The previous draft annexation agreement depended on the two plant plan.
“In the not too distant past, the direction we were taking changed significantly,” said BPN attorney Mark Cropper. “We got detoured. We’re in a different position today than two months ago.”
In December, the County Commissioners restricted Berlin to one wastewater plant, not the two plants proposed.
“We’re trying to find out where we go from here,” Purnell told the town council.
“You’re asking to begin the negotiations?” asked Council Vice President Gee Williams.
“We were told to come before you in this public forum and ask to do that,” said Cropper. “We have to sit down and complete those negotiations.”
“We’re really here just trying to understand how we can possibly fit into the big picture,” said Purnell.
One obstacle to the annexation is wastewater service. Another Purnell project already in Berlin, Purnell Crossing, has been promised 300 EDUs. Unbuilt infill lots and other projects take that total well over the limited expansion approved by the county.
“That’s 800. The county’s only given us 600 additional EDUs,” said Councilwoman Paula Lynch.
“We’re not building this [wastewater] project to the capacity we need,” said Mayor Tom Cardinale.
“That’s obvious,” said Purnell.
If sewer service availability remains unresolved, the annexation agreement would stall.
“We wouldn’t want to be annexed into the town and be denied sewer capacity,” Purnell said.
Berlin warned the county in January that the town would be coming back for further wastewater capacity, but has not yet made a formal request.
“We’d like to see the town go back to the county and ask for sufficient sewer capacity,” Purnell said.
Another element that could prove an obstacle is a probable requirement for new developments to provide spray irrigation land for treated wastewater.