Columbus one step closer to agreement with Foster Creek
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Town of Columbus is another step closer to reaching a development agreement with Foster Creek Preserve. Town council has the second draft of the agreement in hand, which was recently posted on the town’s website for public view.
Council has also delivered another draft of its desired changes to Foster Creek developers, but those changes have not yet been made public.
Foster Creek and the town held an informational meeting on the first draft of the agreement in October, with several residents expressing concerns. Most of the concerns have been taken care of in the latest draft.
One of residents’ main concerns during the informational meeting was a clause in the draft that said, “The town shall reserve sufficient water capacity within the town water system to supply adequate quantities of public water services to the property to the extent necessary for (Foster Creek) to develop the project and obtain certificates of occupancy for each of the dwelling units and related amenities permitted under the master plan, as amended from time to time (the ‘water capacity’).”
Columbus residents said in October that the town should not put the Foster Creek development above all other water customers. Town officials expressed concern over the clause as well.
The second draft seems to remedy concerns with the addition of new clauses, one saying the town “hereby represents that it currently has (sufficient water).” Following a paragraph saying the town shall maintain the water capacity without interruption, the latest draft includes, “except as the result of force majeure, including without limitation, drought conditions which may restrict public water service to all town customers.”
The latest draft also includes other additions to the public utility section, including that Foster Creek agrees that no wells or septic systems shall be installed on the property except with written agreement of the town.
The new draft also rewords a clause that used to say Foster Creek “anticipates” constructing a water storage tank, to one saying Foster Creek “will construct,” a water storage tank.
Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe said he expects town council will discuss the latest draft during its January meeting, scheduled for Jan. 20, but at this point the town is still discussing the agreement in closed session.
Prior to approval, the town will be required to hold a public hearing.
Foster Creek is a 1,065-acre proposed subdivision to be located off Houston Road in Columbus. The town voluntarily annexed the property a few years ago and have been working with developers for years.
Columbus imposed an eight-month moratorium on development during the initial planning of the development and created new ordinances and steps for major subdivision developers to complete prior to approval.
The town approved the master plan last year for approximately 700 total lots and townhomes, to be constructed over the next 15 to 20 years.
The first phase of construction is anticipated to begin in 2012, according to the draft agreement. The final phase is expected to be constructed between 2025 and 2030.
The latest draft agreement can be seen at Columbus Town Hall or on the home page of the town’s website at www.columbusnc.com.