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Nash County again tables Elm City request

Nash County Commissioners once again tabled a request from Elm City to purchase land for expansion of its wastewater treatment facility.

The request was initially brought before the board in May but commissioners delayed taking any action to hold a public hearing on the item.

The Town of Elm City wants to purchase a tract of land owned by Charlotte Bissette for the expansion of its wastewater treatment facility. Because a portion of the property is located in Nash County, the town must first be approved by the Nash County Board of Commissioners before they can purchase the property.

The town wants to purchase a total of 211 acres, 140 of which is in Nash County. The property is off of Homestead Road, between Homestead and South Halifax Roads.

The expansion of the town's wastewater treatment facility would allow for much needed growth in town, Elm City Town Manager Jonathan Russell told commissioners at the public hearing in June.

The town has been under a sewer moratorium since 1998 that restricts growth based on the sewer capacity.

At the hearing, three spoke in opposition to the land purchase.

Commissioners asked that the town get with those residents and try to discuss the concerns and work out a solution.

On Monday, Russell told commissioners he had met with those who had expressed concerns and some of the issues had been worked out, but not all.

Cecil Williams, one of the property owners against the request, spoke about some of the issues. He told commissioners he had a petition with over 90 names on it. He cited several DENR violations the town had received this year.

"Things are constantly going wrong," Williams said. "The problem is not land. The problem is taking care of what they got."

Russell agreed with Wilson and said the violations are a reason the expansion is needed. He added that the state is aware of the town's situation and their request for additional spray fields.

Mike Myers, of Envirolink, told commissioners that their intention was only to spray in Wilson County. If there was a need to spray in Nash, a special use permit would have to be issued and the request would come before the Nash County Board.

Russell told commissioners that there were currently five spray fields in Nash County. All were monitored by the state and if the expansion was approved for their wastewater treatment facility, and spray fields, it would be monitored as well.

Elm City Mayor Grady Smith said the town had been working with DENR to get out of the moratorium. He added that DENR wouldn't let the town do anything that would harm citizens.

Commissioner Wayne Outlaw asked if the town had other options. Myers said they did but that the other options were more costly.

Commissioner Outlaw said he was concerned with approving the request. He said he didn't want to go against the residents.

Commissioner Robbie Davis said he was also hesitant to completely deny the request.

After some discussion, commissioners agreed on a 60-day extension to let Elm City continue to meet with property owners, along with Commissioner Wayne Outlaw and Nash County Engineer Derek Hawkes.

The item will be brought back to the board during the September board meeting.

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