DOBSON — Property owners in the Interstates Water and Sewer District will be required to hook on to a sanitary sewer system which will soon be complete.
The Surry County Board of Commissioners, with three members present, voted unanimously to pass a mandatory hook-up ordinance for the Interstates District, which begins at the intersection of N.C. 89 and Pine Ridge Road and follows N.C. 89 west to where the state highway intersects Round Peak Church Road, on Monday.
However, with Commissioners Larry Johnson and Buck Golding absent, the county board opted to take no action on a related ordinance which would have forced property owners who live along N.C. 89 between the Mount Airy city limits and the district to hook on to the system.
The decisions came after much deliberation, as discussion regarding the ordinances had been held in public meetings twice prior to Monday evening’s meeting.
At a meeting in Elkin in March, County Attorney Ed Woltz put the two ordinances before the board.
He noted that while there is no legal requirement to hold a public hearing on such ordinances, it had been a custom of the board to set a hearing at which the public could make remarks regarding the ordinances.
At that public comment session, which was included in the board’s first April meeting, no resident spoke against mandatory hook-up in the district itself. However, a handful of residents who owned property in the connecting area voiced opposition or concerns regarding mandatory hook-up.
Woltz told the board that both areas and both ordinances had to be treated separately, paving the way for the resolution to which the board came.
“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” Chairman Eddie Harris told a resident who owns property in the connecting area.
Woltz also noted an agreement between Surry County and Mount Airy by which the city agreed to provide sewer services for the new sewer line “anticipated mandatory hook-up in the district.”
“‘Can we require those who are inside the district who lobbied for 15 years for this project to hook up and not require those outside of the district to hook on?” Commissioner Larry Phillips asked.
In the end, that’s what commissioners opted to do, said Harris.
As a result of Monday’s action, property owners who own property adjacent to a gravity sewer line in the Interstates District will be required to hook on to the system or pay an availability fee if a structure stands 200 feet or less from the line. The requirement will also apply to newly built structures.
County Manager Chris Knopf indicated about 30 percent of the lines in the district are forced sewer mains, onto which residents are not required to hook due to the high costs associated with such a venture. Those residents who will be affected by the move received letters in the mail.
Knopf also stated he did not know the costs of hooking on to the gravity sewer lines. Those fees will be determined by Mount Airy, as the city will be providing the service.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.