As Michigan Department of Environmental officials come to Saline for Thursday’s public hearing on the wastewater treatment plan for Andelina Farms, the subdivision planned for Saline Township, west of the city limits, government leaders continue to meet with the developer.
Thursday, officials from the MDEQ’s Water Resources Division will be at Saline City Hall from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. to hear public comment on a proposed permit for the Andelina Farms wastewater plan. Saline Ventures, the developer, plans to collect waste water and pipe it east, under US-12, and to an unnamed tributary of the Saline River near the city limits.
The plan has drawn the ire of Saline City Council members. The city and developer were unable to reach a deal to provide city water and sewer to the development, even though master land use plans of both the city and township list the parcel as property that will be annexed into the city. With no deal, the developer has pressed forward to build the 280-home development as a Saline Township property.
Saline Township planners have held off on approving the final site plan until the developers have their permits approved – but it seems unlikely they can stall the development much longer if the state grants permits.
Could the city, township and developer still find a way to reach an agreement?
On the one hand, it seems unlikely. The city voted 5-1 Monday to approved a resolution demonstrating intent to approve a sewer line serving the east side of the city. The city hopes to find money to do half the project in 2020, for $1.6 million, and the other half in 2022, for $1.3 million. One of the issues council had with approving that resolution is that it still hasn’t identified sources of funding for the project.
The west-belt sewer line isn’t scheduled for improvement until 2026. The cost for that project is around $2.7 million.
So it wouldn’t appear the city is any hurry to approve west-side sewer infrastructure.
Yet, at Mondays meeting, Mayor Marl revealed the city continues to have talks with township officials, the Andelina Farms developer and the MDEQ.
“Just this past Thursday, city staff and I met with the developer for Andelina farms and the folks from Saline Township and with MDEQ to discuss a variety of issues – including water and sewer capacity,” Marl said. “The prospect of a bunch of developments on our west side that remain in Saline Township in perpetuity, with private pack (wastewater treatment) plants is problematic on a number of levels.”
Marl did not elaborate. He has said that the city’s door is always open if the developers want to talk.
But with the city identifying $1.6 million in sewer improvements on the east side, an improvement that’s tied to the Layher Farms development on North Maple Road, the city’s water and sewer ratepayers are almost surely going to get slapped with another increase. Where would the money come from to improve the westbelt line and potentially increase the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant?
Marl indicated council will soon have a work session to discuss funding necessary improvements to the sewer system.