Wastewater woes lead to loss in proposed housing complex

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The proposed 70-unit housing complex on North Breazeale Avenue will not be locating in Mount Olive.

The failure of the town’s capabilities to immediately insure water and sewer service for the proposed development resulted in the developer not getting a state loan to finance the project, officials said.

The withdrawal is seen as a “tremendous setback,” because of the desperate need for more affordable housing here, according to Town Manager Charles Brown.

The town board, months ago, approved a rezoning change to allow for construction on an 8-acre tract of land just north of town on Breazeale Avenue.

Officials said they recently learned the loan to the developer was turned down.

“One of the things that hurt the project going through was our inability to assure him that we had adequate sewer flow right now,” Brown said.

The project was two years out anyway, he added, but the only assurance we could provide was that we would have the needed sewer capability by 2020-21.

Assuring it two years down the road was not sufficient enough to secure the loan, he said. “They needed to know it is there now and under the moratorium at our plant we simply could not provide that.”

Brown went on to say he feels that was a key factor in the project not being funded.

He used the latest project withdrawal to re-emphasize the town’s need for improvements to its wastewater treatment plant.

“Right now, we cannot take on additional industry, additional housing or commercial development. It is not just Mount Olive. Calypso depends on Mount Olive to treat their wastewater. It impacts everything here,” Brown said.

Improvements to the treatment plant are expected to open doors to development in the town.

Brown said that he has high hopes that those improvements will be in place in two years.

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