Corcoran reviews sewer/water policy draft

Significant construction continues to progress at the Corcoran new public works building site. Staff said the project is looking good and on target for mid-December occupation.
Significant construction continues to progress at the Corcoran new public works building site. Staff said the project is looking good and on target for mid-December occupation.

Addresses future connection requirements

The Corcoran City Council reviewed a draft sewer and water policy and ordinance that addresses when existing properties must hook up to municipal services.

The council also heard an update about allocating Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue, mainly for downtown improvement and property acquisition, and took matters concerning the Lennar residential development Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW).



Corcoran extended its first ever municipal sewer and water services this year, near the Maple Grove border and downtown. The council is now determining a policy and ordinance about how to regulate sewer/water use, connections and costs.

“Really, it’s a first opportunity to have a pretty substantial draft,” city administrator Brad Martens later said. “We discussed more along the requirements of those who have the system available in the future, when they would be required to pay and when they would be required to connect.”

Mayor Ken Guenthner and councilors Diane Lynch, Ron Thomas, Rich Asleson and Tom Cossette reached no consensus on the matter but will discuss it again at the Oct. 12 meeting.

The draft sewer and water policy proposes when existing residences and businesses would be required to connect; for example, when a septic system fails or is need of repair; at the time of property sale; when modifications are needed requiring expanded septic use; and requiring connections no later than five years after the service is available. New properties in the service area would be required to connect at the time of construction.

The draft policy states, “The trunk line availability charge shall be made against property owners whose property has availability to a water or sanitary sewer line, as determined by the city even if the owner does not connect to the line. This charge recognizes the ability to connect to the system as a value to the property. The terms of this payment are covered under the water/sewer billing section.”
Martens said, “The next step is continued discussion on the draft policy and ordinance.”



In other news, the council continues to target where remaining TIF funds will be allocated once the TIF district expires at the end of this year.

Mayor Guenthner and the council established downtown improvements, property acquisition and design guidelines as the three priorities for allocating the remaining funds.

“The modification plan lists specific properties that could be addressed in downtown,” administrator Martens said. “All this modification had to take place by the end of this year when the TIF district expires.”

Martens said the city is working toward a downtown project for next year, “but actual construction of sewer and water utilities to the downtown is determined by the city council,” he said. “We did not discuss a time line for that.”

Costs related to modifying the TIF district will be billed back to the district.

The council adopted a resolution approving the modification of the TIF plan.



In further matters, the council heard a report about the EAW for Lennar properties.

Lennar will be the city’s first ever municipal serviced residential development. The EAW considers environmental factors and is required before submission of a preliminary plat, which is the developer’s guide for how the site will be constructed.

Lennar proposes construction of 437 single-family homes on 265 acres west of County Rd. 101 and north of Hackamore Road. An EAW is mandatory for residential developments with more than 250 homes for a city the size of Corcoran. The 30-day EAW comment period ended Sept. 24.

After considering comments and responses from staff, the council determined that there is no need for a greater Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) at the property.

Administrator Martens said staff and Lennar “have been talking back and forth” but that no firm dates for the preliminary plat have been determined.

“It’s really in (Lennar’s) court,” Martens said. “But we’re anticipating a preliminary plat this year.”

In other action, the council:

HEARD a public works facility update. Staff said the project is looking good and is on target for mid-December occupation. The roof will be done soon, and landscaping will start. The council reviewed pictures of work progress.

DISCUSSED the proposed Maple Hill Community Center, which would be constructed at the Maple Hill Estates area in eastern Corcoran and would be a city-owned building. Mobile Hope would be the program facilitator. The council agreed that the city wants to eliminate financial risk before committing any more resources to the proposed project. If the agreements are worked out, bids would be ordered and construction would take place in 2014.