published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Ocoee Utilities, club agree on water

By Paul Leach

Correspondent

OCOEE, Tenn. — Ocoee Utilities and the Ocoee Mountain Club development have reached a tentative agreement to supply water to new homes built there.

The agreement should be finalized in a couple of weeks, Ocoee Utilities District General Manager Tim Lawson and Ocoee Mountain Club representative Glen Fetzner said at a special Polk County Planning Commission meeting this week.

The utilities company and the developer have been in dispute since fall regarding whether more than 25 homes at the development could get access to water.

“As long as we are making progress, this is not going to be an issue,” Lawson said.

County Executive Hoyt Firestone, County Attorney Ginger Wilson Buchanan, several county commissioners, state planning representatives and more than 20 Ocoee Mountain Club residents attended the Monday meeting.

Residents were concerned over a lack of water pressure and questioned what impact future homes might have on available water. They also said that road curbing and drainage work remain incomplete.

Plans have been made to ensure the development’s water system infrastructure, Lawson said. The project includes two feed lines between Sloans Gap Road and Cookson Creek Road.

Those lines also would take care of required fire hydrant pressure and provide for growth, Lawson said.

Fetzner said the waterline project probably will take six months to a year to complete.

Only $8,500 worth of work remains in regard to the community’s current road project, Fetzner said. He said he expects completion within 30 to 60 days.

“I’m still 100 percent committed to the project,” Fetzner said.

The planning commission agreed to turn the matter over to the Polk County Commission with the intent of preventing further sales of lots if the road project and new water agreement are not on track.

Firestone counseled patience and said he believes all parties are working in good faith. He considers the Ocoee Mountain Club water situation to be a wake-up call for the county, he said.

“We need to address in the long term our infrastructure more closely, because we see that water and water pressure is a problem,” Firestone said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. E-mail him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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