Report: DeKalb County says Callaway project lacks sewer capacity

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 26, 2016
A rendering of the Callaway Building mixed use project, provided by the City of Decatur

A rendering of the Callaway Building mixed use project, provided by the City of Decatur

A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution says that DeKalb County says there’s not enough sewer capacity to handle the proposed redevelopment of the Callaway property.

Currently the city of Decatur is in the midst of closing the sale of the property to developer Cousins Properties, which plans to turn the 5.2 acre site at West Trinity Place into a mixed-use development.

Assistant City Manager Andrea Arnold says she’s aware of the letter from the county regarding sewer capacity for the project, but doesn’t think it will hold up the sale of the property to Cousins. The city purchased the Callaway property from DeKalb County using $5.12 million borrowed by issuing bonds. Plans for the building go back to at least 2011.

“I don’t know that this is any different than what they’ve required of another development in town where they’re requiring the developer to pay for the upgrades,” Arnold said.

Arnold is referring to the Arlo apartment development, which was delayed due to a similar issue. Disagreement over sewer capacity held up the Arlo project for months.

DeKalb County and the Decatur Downtown Development Authority eventually agreed to 50-50 split of the costs for upgrading sewer infrastructure around Arlo, a 210-unit apartment development on East Trinity Place.

Arlo’s developer, Centro, agreed to reimburse the DDA.

Centro, initially received a letter from the county saying there was sufficient sewer capacity to handle the project. The county then followed up with another letter informing Centro that the company would need to pay an additional $300,000 in impact fees, a move that held up permitting.

According to the copy of the intergovernmental agreement obtained by Decaturish, the county will pay $150,000 for the sewer upgrades around Arlo.

Assistant City Manager Lyn Menne said that Cousins, the developer of the Callaway project, would be responsible for paying to upgrade the sewer infrastructure for that project.

“They’re very shocked,” Menne said when asked about the developer’s reaction to the county’s letter. “Again, just like Arlo, they had a letter saying there’s capacity. They’re not happy about it, but it doesn’t affect whether the project will  move forward.”

According to the AJC, other developers have received similar letters. The article notes that a federal judge in 2010 ordered the county to improve its sewer lines. To read the full story, click here.

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