Berlin Council’s Decision Lifts Sewer Capacity Moratorium

BERLIN – Sewer capacity has become available in Berlin, ending a de facto moratorium that has lasted for years, now that the Berlin Mayor and Council has passed new sewer rules.

With the new wastewater regulations approved last week, after two years of development and discussion, the town of Berlin can release about 458 EDUs for allocation to new projects.

The EDUs are portioned out among residential, commercial, industrial, and reserves under a capacity management plan, with about 90 units of sewer capacity available in each zoning category.

Substantially more EDUs will become available in 18 months when the improvements to and expansion of the current Berlin wastewater treatment plant are complete.

One audience member at Monday night’s Berlin Town Council meeting, Frank Favazza of Coldwell Banker, said he represented a developer interested in coming into Berlin immediately.

“When would EDUs be available and how many allocations are out there for developers who want to come to the area?” asked Favazza during the wastewater regulation discussion.

Williams assured him that EDUs would be available for request starting the next morning, once the town council passed the new regulations.

Visitors to the Berlin Mayor and Council meetings over the last several years got used to town attempts to create a priority EDU assignment list, or requests to use less EDUs than regulations required, or people simply wondering when or if they could build. Town staff and elected officials could never give a promising answer.

“We’ve got a moratorium today. No EDUs are being allocated. It’s doesn’t matter if you bought your lot 300 years ago or last week,” said Sandy Coyman at last Monday night’s meeting during discussions of the new regulations.

EDU allocations will be limited to a certain number per year, Williams said, giving the town some control over how fast EDUs are assigned.

“When the economy’s hot, we have the ability to put the brake on,” Williams said.

Limiting the number of EDUs to be allocated annually is another tool to limit growth, he said.

If managed carefully, the EDUs added by the planned wastewater treatment plant expansion will last through 20 years of reasonable growth, Williams said.