Posts Tagged ‘neighborhood committee’

March 29, 2017 Budget Workshop

March 29, 2017

Message from our Neighborhood Committee Chairman

At today’s Budget Workshop the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved a staff recommendation to advance the Septic System Replacement plan in Area N3. This vote was necessary because the county’s capital improvement plan is being reshuffled in order to cope with a shortall in surtax revenue, and some projects are being delayed. Today, our project survived.

I am pleased to report that Commissioner Alan Maio reached out to contact me soon after the commission voted and asked me let everyone know he had received our emails. He said he was glad that we did not overwhelm him with email, and more importantly, that none of us were insulting or rude or threatened to kick him out of office if he did not support our project. So to those of you who took the time to contact Commissioner Maio or any of the other commissioners, thank you for representing our neighborhood well.

I would also like to mention that Commissioner Hines responded promptly to the initial email I sent on behalf of the committee Monday evening, and it was he who introduced the motion today that kept our program in the capital improvement plan.

We owe thanks to all of the commissioners, and specifically to Mr. Hines and Mr. Maio, for voting to keep our sewer project going.

Thanks to those neighbors who took the time to email the commissioners, and thanks for being respectful.

Only one step remains: The county commission will be presented a construction contract for its approval, as soon as April. Then, at long last, we should see digging in the streets. I am sure there will be a lot of information in the coming months.

Best regards,
Peter Gentile
Chairman
N-3 Neighborhood Committee

 

 

worth noting

Charles Hines is the only sitting commissioner that was involved in the months of discussion concerning our project.  He met with us several times during the process and  has been very supportive of our efforts throughout.  Comm. Alan Maio is one of the “new guys”, but seems genuinely interested in connecting with us in the neighborhood.  He is the Commissioner for District 4 (our district).

 

Are we on the chopping block?

March 27, 2017

Current status

The December 20 post discussed the last official update of our sewer project: “The design is 100 percent complete with all required permits.  The project is currently advertised for construction bids.  Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2017 with an approximate 9-month construction duration.”  (Additional information can be found in the PCSSRP Monthly Status Report.)

Budget shortfall

Your N3 Committee has been closely following the progress of our neighborhood sewer project.  At the Feb 17 Budget Workshop county staff presented a Capital Improvement Project Prioritization to the Commissioners and the bottom line is there is not enough money for all projects.  So, which ones to cut?  When the PCSSRP was was discussed, Commissioner Maio asked for a report on “literature that has been provided and the expectations of owners.”

Budget Strategy Workshop March 29

This coming Wednesday Mar 29 the County Commission is holding another Budget Workshop.  The meeting starts at 9:00 AM and is open to the public.  Here is  page 85 from the presentation commissioners will see:

What should concerned residents do?

  • You can email commissioners at commissioners@scgov.net and ask them to approve Option 3.
  • Commissioner Maio asked what our expectations are: Let him know we expect to begin this Spring and be completed by December 2017
  • Attend the meeting on Wednesday and speak during either of the two the Open to the Public segments (click here for meeting agenda).
  • If you can’t attend the meeting you can view it by going to  scgov.net “Televised Meetings.”

Presentation for March 29 Budget Workshop

Here’s the full Presentation Package (Phillippi Creek Overview starts on pg. 71).

3-29 Presentation

 

September 2016 Project Update

September 28, 2016

PCSSRP Status Report (link)

The above link will take you to the County’s August 31, 2016 Status Report.

Highlights:

  • plans and specifications are 100% complete.
  • bid documents will be submitted in September and advertised in October.
  • construction is expected to begin January 2017 and be completed by end of year.

Jaimol Charles, Project Manager, explained that there was some regulatory issues that took longer than expected to get approval.  The issues are now resolved, but the schedule may be extended by a month or so.

I know there are some neighbors having septic tank and/or drain field problems and hopefully this information will help in making decisions whether to replace or repair.  If you’ll refer to the January 13th post (“Drainfield Problems”) you’ll find ideas and resource links that may be helpful.

January 2016 Project Update

January 13, 2016

Representatives of the N-3 neighborhood met January 7 with the Sarasota County Utilities Department for an update on the sewer installation project in our neighborhood.

​​We are happy to report that the design is far enough along that a public meeting has been scheduled at which the plans will be available for review. This meeting will be held the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the South Gate Community Center.

The meeting will be an open house rather than a presentation. ​You will have the opportunity to circulate and get information on various aspects of the project. ​County representatives will be available to discuss individual lot-specific issues. ​Detailed cost and financial information will be available. And Health Department representatives will be on hand to discuss issues related to septic tanks and their decommissioning.

The official notice of the meeting will be sent out this month to all affected residents. A separate notice will go out to residents of Mineola and River Ridge to hear ​about ​future plans for their areas.

We hope to see all of you at the Community Center on Feb. 24.

Best regards,
Peter Gentile, N-3 Neighborhood Committee

N3 Sewer Update June 2015

June 25, 2015

Hello N3 Neighbors,

Sarasota County’s latest status report for the septic tank replacement program (PCSSRP) can be found here. Click on the “View the latest update” link and scroll down to Area N3.

We will post details of the fall 2015 meeting as soon as the date is announced.

N3 Sewer Update Feb 2015

February 9, 2015

On Monday, Feb. 2, Mike Scarborough and Peter Gentile, representing the N3 Neighborhood Committee, met with the county staff and consulting engineers involved in the “hybrid gravity” sewer system that will be built in our neighborhood. 

Although the final details are subject to review and approval by county and state regulators, the plan seems to be shaping up as follows: four lift stations will be built in the neighborhood, two primary pumps on Tanglewood Drive and two smaller pumps, one each on North and South Seclusion Drives. 

When the “hybrid gravity” system was proposed, it was envisioned that there would probably be at least six lift stations. So we can thank the engineers at Giffels-Webster for minimizing the footprint of this project. Specifically, the engineers came up with a method to connect the homes in the Homasassa Street neighborhood to existing sewer lines, eliminating one lift station. And where Tanglewood crosses the Bermuda canal, there will be one lift station, whereas it was initially thought that there would need to be one on each side of the canal.

To remind everyone, these lift stations will be underground. Only the electrical equipment and control panels will be above ground. These will be fenced or landscaped or both, we have been assured. 

As a further reminder, and to recap, in the summer of 2012 it came to our attention that the county intended to connect us to the county sewer system through the installation of a “grinder pump” in the front yard of each of our homes. A group of neighbors got together and researched these “grinder pumps,” and discovered that other communities that had installed them had reliability problems. We were also uncomfortable with the idea that the pumps would stop working in the event of a power outage, that the county would have a de facto easement on each of our properties, and that we would have to pay for the electricity to run the pumps. 

At the time, the committee believed that the only option to the grinder pumps would have been a “vacuum” system, such as was installed in the rest of South Gate. If that system had been adopted, one of the houses in our neighborhood would have been demolished and replaced with a vacuum station. That clearly would have also affected the homeowners who lived adjacent to the vacuum station. 

The neighborhood committee prevailed upon the County Commission to “Dump the Pumps” and county staff was directed to take another look at our neighborhood, and to see if there might be a third alternative. And indeed there was: the “hybrid gravity” system that is going forward now. Basically, it is a traditional gravity system, except that there are more lift stations and the pipes are not as deep in the ground as would be the case in a “built-from-scratch” system. In fact, most lift stations in the county serve hundreds of homes each. In our neighborhood, we will have four lift stations for about 200 homes. 

Neighbors frequently ask, “When are we getting sewers?” The answer is still, “Some day in the not too distant future” We are discovering that public works projects move through the system fairly slowly. This project presents engineering and regulatory issues that only add to the timeline. However, we can assure you, this project is moving, the money is available, and it will be built.

The next step will be a public meeting. At that time, the plan will be pretty much finalized. Homeowners will be able to review the plans and get answers to their specific questions. The county staffers indicated that the meeting will occur in late March or early April.

N3 Sewer Update – Oct. 2014

October 4, 2014

On Friday, Sept. 26, Mike Scarborough and Peter Gentile, representing the N-3 Neighborhood Committee, met with Jaimol Charles and Greg Rouse of the Sarasota County Utilities Department for an update regarding the “hybrid gravity” sewer system planned for our neighborhood.

 

The project has reached the 30 percent design stage. Detailed drawings have been prepared, and the Utilities Department is in discussions with state regulators regarding methods of construction and specific placement of the proposed lift stations. Once the state review is complete, the plan will be modified as needed and the engineers will take the design to the 60 percent stage, at which time there will be a public meeting for all homeowners in Area N-3. We were told that we can probably expect this meeting to occur in early 2015.

 

At this meeting, the county engineers will present an overview of the entire project, and you will be able to view drawings that show the details for each individual home, including the location of current septic tank(s) and the planned location of the “lateral lines” that connect  the main lines to each individual house. If you have already expressed a preference for the location of the lateral (a survey was taken some years ago), the County has attempted to honor your request. The lateral line will be capped and marked at the property line. Each homeowner will be responsible for the connection from their house to the lateral line, and then crushing or removing their septic tank(s).

 

As we have stated in previous emails, the “hybrid gravity” sewer system calls for six to 10 small underground lift stations in various locations in the public right of way throughout our neighborhood. At the current 30-percent design stage, it looks as though six lift stations may be enough, and there could end up being fewer. The final locations of the lift stations will be presented at the public meeting.

 

This “hybrid gravity” plan came into being after the County Commission halted an earlier proposal that would have placed a county-owned “grinder pump” in each individual yard, with the homeowner responsible for providing power to the device. The N-3 Committee conducted research into these “grinder pumps” and determined that they could be prone to failure and would stop working in the event of a power failure, leaving homeowners dependent on the county to pump them out in an emergency. Also, the County did not plan to obtain easements for the placement of the devices, which committee members felt was of dubious legality. Thanks to persistent lobbying by the committee and the efforts of 50 or more neighbors who attended the County Commission meeting, the Commission halted the “grinder pump” plan and County staff was directed to investigate a “hybrid gravity” system for the neighborhood.

 

We believe the County Commission and the Utilities Department have gone the extra mile to design the best system possible for our neighborhood. Not only will we avoid having 200 individual “grinder pumps” in our yards, but we will also avoid having 200 “candy canes” (which we would have had under the third alternative, a “vacuum system” like the rest of South Gate).

 

The main sewer lines will be placed in one lane or the other of the streets, not down the middle, so that there will be at least one lane available for travel during construction. The construction crews will attempt to keep access open to each home, but there may be times when coming and going will be somewhat difficult. We have been told that the construction crews will be attentive to any special needs individual homeowners may have. Some months after construction is complete, all the streets in the project area will be repaved.

 

We look forward to seeing all of you at the next public meeting, which, if we are lucky, may be the LAST public meeting we will have to attend regarding the provision of sewer service to our neighborhood.

 

Best regards,

Peter Gentile, Chairman

N-3 Neighborhood Committee

Hybrid Sewer Update – August 2014

August 1, 2014

The N3 Neighborhood Committee this week contacted the Sarasota County Utilities Department for an update on the hybrid gravity sewer system that is planned for our neighborhood. Project Manager Jaimol Charles promptly responded with this update, for which we thank her:

 Status update from the county’s project manager

“Currently the consultant (GWE) is in the process of identifying potential underground utility conflicts in the area. They are using historical as-built survey information of the existing sewer, stormwater and water to determine the most efficient way to lay out the ‘hybrid gravity’ system. In addition, their field technicians have begun probing and using ground penetrating radar (GPR) in the area between Homasassa Road and Jennings Drive to physically locate existing sewer, water and storm drain. Furthermore, in the upcoming month, the residents can expect to see them working around Webber Street and Tuttle Avenue and the balance of the area collecting data.”

 

We hope this means that “the train has left the station” and we are on our way to having a modern, central sewer system installed in our neighborhood. We will remain in contact with the Utilities Department and keep the neighborhood informed through this blog and the associated email list.

 

Peter Gentile

Chairman, N3 Neighborhood Committee

Hybrid Sewer Update – April 2014

April 5, 2014

Information from County Staff

 

Members of your committee met with County Staff on Thursday, April 3rd. Staff members present were Ms. Jaimol Charles, P.E. (our newly assigned Project Manager), Greg Rouse, P.E. (engineering manager), and Jonathan Cole, P.E., President of Giffels-Webster Consulting Engineers.
Significant points discussed were:
  • Funding is in place for Hybrid Gravity Sewer in our N3 neighborhood. Giffels-Webster Engineers, which has the contract for designing the system in our area, is modifying its contract with the county to reflect that the plan has changed from grinder pumps to hybrid gravity. This contract modification will be presented to the County Commission for what should be routine approval.
  • The next step will be a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the neighborhood. This survey will look for for specific sub-surface conflicts to be considered in the final engineering design. We can expect to see GPR operators as early as June. The survey will take approximately three weeks. If the survey confirms the feasibility of the conceptual design, then the project will be a “go.” There is a remote chance that the survey could turn up impediments that will render the plan unworkable. However, the engineers seem confident that they will be able to build the hybrid gravity system pretty much as they envisioned in the conceptual design.
  • Assuming that the contract modifications pass muster, and the GPR survey finds no unforeseen impediments, the final design should be completed by December 2014. This final plan will be presented to the community at a public meeting.
  • The project will then be put out for bid and construction could begin in early 2015. Construction could take up to a year.

 

Ground Penetrating Radar

Ground Penetrating Radar

Hybrid Sewer Update – Feb 2014

February 20, 2014

Previous action

As previously reported  by Peter Gentile, on Dec. 11, 2013 the County Commissioners unanimously voted to direct the county staff to begin designing a “hybrid gravity sewer system” for our N3 Area.

Latest update

County staff has informed us that a draft has been submitted by the consultant and is under internal review by staff.  Negotiations of the scope and consultant fees will be forthcoming.

Also, there have been some management changes and Jaimol Charles, P.E. is now the Project Manager for the Area N3 project. The N3 Committee will meet with her, once re-design gets underway, since she will be working with the committee to site the smaller lift stations throughout the community.

As Peter noted, “we are fortunate in Sarasota County to have such dedicated and professional civil servants. We look forward to working with them through the planning and construction phases”.