Utility Authority’s comment period ends Friday

Published 7:22 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The Pearl River County Utility Authority is still taking public comments for a couple more days on the rules and regulations to be adopted some time in the middle of October.
In a Monday night meeting, the Authority held a public discussion on rules and regulations so residents could express their concerns about what has been proposed so far.
Currently, the authority is meeting little resistance to inspections, said authority engineer Brooks Wallace. He said that he and his team of engineers have reviewed plans containing about 2,600 new lots in 35 developments in the last month. Wallace said that 31 of those developments were of sketch plans and the remaining four were construction plans. Of those sketch plans, four were not approved, Wallace said. Two of those developments not approved were able to be worked out with a compromise while the other two were still in preliminary stages, he said.
According to his report and Authority members, everything is going well. However, a developer had another opinion.
“I take difference to the comment that everything is going smoothly,” said Richard Teague.
Teague said he is concerned that the new rules and regulations are going to file everything in to subdivisions, negating any attempts at division of land to give to family members and utilizing septic tanks. He also had a problem with flood zones restricting the placement of septic tanks.
Authority Attorney Mike Caples said the reason behind limiting the placement of septic tanks in flood zones is to keep them from discharging in the instance of a flood.
“It’s a disaster waiting to occur,” Caples said.
His problem does not concern houses that would flood, but the ones designated as flood zones but are on top of hills, Teague said.
In those instances alternatives to on site waste treatment, or septic tanks as they are commonly called, that are just as cost effective and could be used in designated flood zones, Caples said.
Another person, Clark Quave, said he is having a problem with proposed rules about the division of land. He was looking into buying two acres to split and give to his children.
Caples said that more than likely Quave would not be able to put septic tanks on the one acre lots once it is separated because the rules and regulations deem lots that size too small for septic tanks. However, members of the authority said there may be something that they could work out with Quave.
Lack of information about the utility authority was a major concern with Teague as well. He said that there was no notification about the Utility Authority in any form of media. Authority president Steve Lawler corrected Teague with the fact that the Picayune Item has been to numerous meetings and printed numerous articles on the subject.
Board member Ike Lewis said he is on the Pearl River Central Water Board and they sent out many flyers, 3,800 to be exact, in every outgoing bill one month to get public response at a meeting on the matter, only to have 10 people show.
“It’s not until it affects you that you get involved,” Lewis said.
Board member Don Durham said the rules, once they are adopted, can be changed if they prove to be detrimental to orderly development.
However once the rules and regulations are adopted they can be changed, said board member Don Durham.
The rules and regulations public comment window will be open until Oct. 5, comments on those rules and regulations can be addressed to the authority via phone at 601-799-5259, fax at 601-799-0480 or snail mail at P.O. Box 699, Picayune Ms., 39466, Wallace said. The authority plans to adopt the finished version of the rules and regulations between Oct. 15 and 16.
In other business the authority:
— Authorized the board president to sign Gulf of Mexico Grant application for $50,000, which would be under a reimbursement basis for expenses incurred by the authority.
— Approved site development agreements of Big Sky, Cimmaron and High Point Subdivisions, pending their meeting inspection requirements.
— Tabled a request from Center Water Association to expand existing franchise limits.
— Tabled a letter from the Mississippi Department of Health concerning a sub-par system at the McNeill Travel Center.
— Tabled a letter from Pearl River County Planning Department concerning storm water permit on Peters Road for further discussion.
— Approved minutes from Sept. 5, meeting.
Adjourned until 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6, at the Poplarville City Hall.