Board denies plat for Hilltop Estates

Published 3:32 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The preliminary plat for Hilltop Estates was recommended for denial before the community into which it would have been set had a chance to object to its proposed presence.

As the preliminary plat was presented to the board for discussion, Planning and Development Director Ed Pinero suggested that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors deny the request. Pinero said even though the development had been through the proper public hearings, deficiencies on Matthews Road need addressing. That road is proposed to be the primary entrance and exit to Hilltop Estates.

Phase one of the development is proposed to include 187 homes, with the possibility of a second phase. Homes proposed for the subdivision would be town homes, Pinero said.

Area resident Kirby Billiot expressed concerns about storm water drainage and the proposed expulsion of treated sewage behind existing homes.

Utility Authority engineer Brooks Wallace said the development is slated to include septic tanks hooked to a treatment plant. Effluent from the septic tanks would be pumped to the subdivision’s treatment plant. Solid waste would remain in the septic tanks. An ultraviolet treatment system would be used to break down coliform material at the treatment plant.

David Daniel said he is concerned with the proposed use of light bulbs to treat waste water. Not only would it be a waste of electricity, but that would create an abundance of algae in the treated water. Daniel said he works for an independent company that treats waste water to Department of Environmental Quality standards in Louisiana.

A private well would supply the development with its water needs. That proposed well would be deeper than those existing in the surrounding area. Billiot said he was worried about the deeper well changing the water table of the surrounding area. That would effectively make his and the other residents’ wells run dry, he said. Board president Anthony Hales told Billiot that is why the county has subdivision regulations.

“Because we know that things that people do impact other people,” Hales said.

The board eventually approved a motion to accept Pinero’s recommendation to deny approval of the preliminary plat for Hilltop Estates.

The board also made a petition and letter from a group of citizens opposing Hilltop Estates in the Sycamore Farm Community a part of the board minutes.

Drainage in the county has been affected by downed trees still in the tributaries in the county, but a water way debris removal project grant might clear that up. Les Dungan, of Dungan Engineering, asked the county to contact residents who would be directly affected by the work. Whoever gets the contract to do the work will need permission from affected land owners to use equipment on their property. Retrieved lumber will be mulched on site after it is removed from the streams, Dungan said.

About 115 residents are on a list to be contacted either by personal visit, mail or phone.

“If you get a call from us in the future, don’t shoot, throw away or hang up,” Dungan said.

The county approved contacting residents, and in a separate motion approved execution of the water way debris removal project. The project is 100 percent funded for up to $711,000 by a National Resource and Conservation Service grant.

District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday asked what is going on with an agreement between the previous administration and Camp Dresser and McKee. He understands that about $500,000 has been set aside from them to conduct some work, but has not seen any production.

Pinero said that money was set aside for the company to focus on the board’s vision for the future. Hales said the group was hired to help the county develop a smart growth plan. It was initiated during last year’s election and since planning and regulations were not popular, it was set aside. Now Hales would like to see what the current board would like to do with it.

“I got some concerns about a company from Boston, Mass., coming here telling us how to live,” Holliday said.

Hales said that the company is only here to present ideas of what the county can do in the future. Especially in the times of high gas prices it might be good to have more services offered to residents closer to their homes.

“I don’t think that the idea of planning for the future is so farfetched,” Hales said.

No formal action was taken on the matter

District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith asked why Binderwald Maintenance on U.S. 11 South is housing Louisiana-tagged vehicles in Pearl River County. He asked Sheriff David Allison to check into that for him. Allison said he will look into it.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters in the Planning Department. When they came out of executive session, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said members approved personnel increases to compensate for the certification of two employees,

In other business the board;

— Approved donating all land deemed for street use in what was formerly known as Ridge Road Subdivision off Telly Road in Picayune, to the city. That area was annexed into the city in the late 1950s but the roads were not.

— Approved Emergency Management Director Danny Manley to apply for an Emergency Management Assistance Program grant. The annual grant may pay up to 50 percent of his department’s proposed budget.

— Approved preliminary plat for Kingsmill subdivision. That subdivision would replace Mardi Gras Trailer park on Grover Barrett Road. Homes would be town homes instead of mobile homes.

— Approved the preliminary plat for Wolf Ridge subdivision, to be locate near Luvell Odom Road and Oscar Lee Road.

The next meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday June 2.