TO: Walt Wrede, City Manager
FROM: Carey Meyer, Public Works Director
DATE: January 18, 2010
RE: Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II) Project Status and Request for Direction
The Council has adopted Resolution 05-43 on April 11, 2005 which established the need for the Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II). The Council has adopted Resolution 05-81(S) on July 25, 2005 which authorized the formation of the Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II) LID assessment district after a majority of property owners within the LID boundaries supported the creation of an LID. The Council has adopted Resolution 05-47 on October 10, 2005 authorizing the design and construction of the Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II).
Public Works initiated design of the project in January 2007 with Council direction to evaluate whether the construction of the project would impact bluff erosion
• The engineers have completed the plans for construction and have acquired all necessary environmental permits.
• The project design has taken into account the environmental and regulatory concerns expressed during the scoping and permit application process. The geotechnical report prepared by Duane Miller Associates LLC of Anchorage, Alaska for the project provides an assessment of the potential impact of construction on bluff erosion. Based on the design recommendations contained in the geotechnical report; boring services, boring sewer mains through wetlands areas, and backfilling trenches with native material to maintain existing soil profiles; the project should not negatively impact bluff erosion. Elimination of septic systems can reduce groundwater volumes near the bluff.
• A geotechnical report included an evaluation of the potential impacts of construction on bluff erosion. The report found that “This project does not impose a surface or subsurface drainage regime change” and “This project is not expected to be a contributing factor for bluff erosion”.
• The geotechnical report states that “The sewer project will replace existing septic systems along the route. This will reduce the input of treated water into the groundwater regime by eliminating the drain fields. This may reduce the overall volume of water seepage at the bluff face which would help reduce erosion caused by the seepage.
• The City is working to secure necessary easements from over 80 property owners along Kachemak Drive. Of the 46 permanent easements needed, there are 14 yet to be acquired.
Request for Direction:
The City Engineer believes that the only major hurtle standing in the way of starting construction this summer is the acquisition of the remaining required easements. Public Works can have construction documents ready for bidding by Spring 2010.
The City Engineer also believes that based on the progress made over the last year of intense neighborhood meetings, one-on-one contacts with individual property owners, and the response of written correspondence; many of the required easements will not be acquired by the Spring 2010.
Without additional direction by the Council, this project will come to a stand-still and construction of the Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II) will not start next summer. Per Homer City Code , if construction is not initiated by July 2010, the LID may become null and void.
The Council can postpone the project indefinitely or consider the use of eminent domain to facilitate the acquisition of necessary easements. Through the eminent domain process, the City can gain possession of the needed easements in a timely manner that would allow for construction of this project to begin this summer.
Recommendations: The Homer City Council re-expresses its support for the completion of the Kachemak Drive Water and Sewer Project (Phase II) and authorize the City Manager to prepare to use the power of eminent domain to facilitate the acquisition of any required easements by preparing the required Decisional Document. The City Manager shall present the final decisional document to the Council within 45 days and make final recommendations regarding the use of eminent domain in acquiring the remaining necessary easements.