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Breezy Point: Council considers Whitebirch road, sewer development

Echo Journal file photo

The Breezy Point City Council listened to a feasibility report from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm regarding road and sewer improvements during its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 4, at city hall.

At the January meeting, the council approved a study to be conducted for the Whitebirch development off County State Aid Highway 11, behind Antlers. The study included Whitebirch Drive, Papago Circle, Suffolk Drive and Suffolk Circle, which are all currently gravel roads on newly developed property.

According to Widseth Smith Nolting, improvements for the four roads include installing and/or replacing culverts on all driveways; ditch shaping on the roadside for stormwater storage; supplementing current road surface to strengthen the pavement base; paving a two-lane, 20-foot road with 2-foot aggregate shoulders; and re-establishing vegetation that would have been disturbed.

The report also considered sewer improvements for the Whitebirch development. The 2014 improvement project extended the municipal sewer system into the Whitebirch Seven subdivision. The city is now considering extending further into the development for full coverage.

Preliminary looks into the condition and alignments of the roads suggested that serving the remainder of the Whitebirch subdivision with solely a gravity sewer would be possible.

Widseth Smith Nolting split the proposed improvements into two phases.

The first phase would install a gravity sewer main along Papago Circle, including an interceptor to Creek Circle to remain a gravity sewer. The city would create a permanent utility easement on privately owned property in Whitebirch Village. An existing home at 7754 Whitebirch Drive would be connected to the Papago Circle sewer main.

The second phase would install a gravity sewer main along Suffolk Drive and Suffolk Circle, including an interceptor to connect with Papago Circle, and create another permanent utility easement on a property in Whitebirch Village.

Each phase has an estimated cost individually of $700,000, or a total cost of $1,400,000 once both phases are complete. Should the city decide to combine the two into one project, the estimated cost would be $1,309,000, saving the city just under $100,000 total.

City administrator Patrick Wussow said there are several payment options to consider, which will be brought up to the council as plans progress.

Mayor Tom Lillehei said he would like to see a policy that does not include bonding.

The council agreed to share the Widseth Smith Nolting report with developers and discuss the idea further. The conversation was tabled until the March meeting.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Heard an update from the Road Committee regarding the repaving of Ossawinnamakee and Graf roads. The project is not expected to take place until 2020.

• Approved payment to DeChantel Excavating for materials associated with a sewer bypass project underway. The payment will go into effect but is contingent on project completion by May 15.

• Scheduled a family open skate night from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, at Breezy Point Arena. The event will give the city a chance to talk to residents about the comprehensive plan and explain upcoming projects.

• Approved a grant application to put another two sets of stairs at the swimming beach.

• Scheduled the Board of Appeal and Equalization for 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 17.

• Renewed the same tort liability limits as previous years.

• Terminated a contract with an animal control operation. The city only used the service once last year, and Police Chief Kevin Merschman said his department can handle similar cases on its own rather than paying an outside entity.

• Renewed the Pelican Township police contract with a $1,500 increase.

• Approved the hiring of a planning intern for 16 weeks. The program, run through Sourcewell, will pay $12 per hour for 40 hours a week. The intern will help with comprehensive plan details, GIS mapping with the Planning Department, conducting site visits and overall city operations.

• Authorized reinvestments through the state 4M fund.

• Began talks to allow golf carts on county roads around the city. The Natural Resources Advisory Committee will meet Wednesday, April 3, to discuss the matter further.

The Breezy Point Police Department responded to 153 incidents in January, including two traffic arrests and three animal-related encounters.