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It's hard to have development without water, so where is it?

When Franklin County adopted an abbreviated agenda at its March 16 meeting -- the last in-person meeting before commissioners began having virtual meetings to maintain social distance -- there were about a dozen water allocation and extension requests that didn't make the cut.

Almost three months later, a Morrisville home building company wants to know what's the holdup.

The only other significant action item that got cut from that March 16 meeting was a public hearing on the county's Comprehensive Development Plan.

However, since that time, the CDP has been the subject of a public hearing and, on Monday night, Franklin County commissioners approved the document that will help guide the county's development for the next two decades by unanimous decision.

However, the extension and water allocations requests for a number of different developments remain un-discussed.

Jay Colvin, land acquisition manager for Dan Ryan Builders, appeared, let's just say, a bit disturbed by the lack of communication.

"Dan Ryan Builders made plans based on [the] recommendations of the Utilities Advisory Commission as we understood that our water allocations would be approved at that [March 16 meeting]," Colvin said during the board's Monday night meeting. Dan Ryan Builders are responsible for about four of the allocations requests.

"However, county commissioners removed the water allocations from the agenda [and] county commissioners have not ever explained that decision.

"County commissioners continue to refuse ... to explain why it's refusing to act on the UAC recommendations and this is causing substantial damage to our business."

Certainly, you could say that a recommendation by an advisory committee doesn't make a county commission decision a slam dunk.

However, the UAC is made up of three commissioners, the county manager, public utilities director, planning director and economic development director.

My guess is a positive recommendation "is" a slam dunk decision by the board.

But the matter, months later, has yet to come before the board of commissioners.

But, two weeks after the UAC recommendation and, right before the March 16 meeting, the items were pulled.

And they haven't been brought back.

"Clearly, something happened between the UAC meeting and the county commissioners' meeting and we believe we are entitled to know exactly what happened and why this action was taken by the county.

"We have been trying for more than two and a half months to get that information from the county.

"We have repeatedly been promised ... information that would allow us to understand the present situation. Unfortunately, the county representatives have failed to follow through with those responses.

"This is unprofessional and unacceptable."

What the pair has, Colvin said, is a lack of communication.

"... It has paralyzed the development plans of Dan Ryan Builders."

Then, Colvin posed a direct question that deserves an answer.

"My question is: Are you going to allow land owners to make significant investments, shepherd their projects through the entitlement process with no hope of ever getting water allocations?

"If so, this is completely unfair to all involved.

"If there is a current, dire shortage of water, then we are entitled to an explanation of both the reason that there is such shortage and the plan for resolving this problem."

Dan Ryan Builders, other developers and, quite frankly, all of Franklin County, deserve to know that answer.

Development feeds so much of Franklin County. Residential development spurs business development and business development spurs residential development.

If the county doesn't take action to approve requests that it's recommended to provide the resources necessary to support and sustain that development, we all need to know why that is.


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Members Opinions:
June 04, 2020 at 4:59pm
Note to Dan Ryan Builders, perhaps you need to go find the original developer of Olde Liberty and ask her how the country did her and why she had to file for bankruptcy.

At least the county said several years ago that the county was OUT OF WATER and could not allocate anymore. The problem is no developers listened. So stop complaining about not getting any answer... the answer was given several years ago, you just did not listen.



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