If anyone in the Sunbury community wonders if the Sunbury Pointe Apartment complex on South Miller Drive will ever be built, they don’t have long to wait – first dirt should be turned this week.
During last Thursday evening’s (March 16) Sunbury Village Council meeting, it was noted that Champion Real Estate Services had paid $960,000 in total fees required to get the project underway, $880,000 of that figure would be sewer tap fees — tap fees all go to the village sewer fund.
The 146-unit Sunbury Pointe Apartment complex will be built on the 12.8-acre site at the intersection of South Miller Drive and Fairland Avenue, across the street from General Rosecrans Elementary School.
The project has been in the planning stages since 2015, and has gone through a major change that landed the developer back in front of members of the Village of Sunbury Planning & Zoning Commission for a second approval.
Champion CEO Brian Yeager and Champion Chief Investment Officer Dan Hunter initially received a thumbs-up to build 98 town-homes, 30 of them three-bedroom, and 48 two-bedroom garden apartments with target rents from $1,200 a month to $1,450 a month.
Because of the sticker shock of sanitary sewer tap fees, Champion returned to the drawing table, reduced the number of town-homes by 50 percent, garden units increased by 50 percent, and the number of buildings were reduced from 18 to 14 with site changes that feature 11.77 units per acre.
Champion also negotiated a reduced sewer tap fee for two-bedroom units, but will pay a full tap fee for the 16 surviving 3-bedroom units, and the adjusted plan reappeared at zoning in August of 2016. Zoning approved it, members of Sunbury Village Council approved it, and according to information released during last Wednesday’s council meeting (March 15), construction should have started this past Monday (March 20).
In other business, Sunbury’s energy broker Scott Belcastro, Trebel, LLC, was in chambers and recommended that council members approve a two-year natural gas aggregation contract with Volunteer Energy. Belcastro said that three firms offered gas aggregation bids – Volunteer Energy, IGS, and Constellation Energy.
“Volunteer Energy has a one- and two-year program with a guaranteed discount off the adder, and no early termination fee,” Belcastro said. “I think the best choice would be Volunteer. I don’t have any other product that offers a two-year program that compares to Volunteer. It would be a fixed 15.7 percent off the adder for the next year. Your only risk is when Columbia Gas sets the adder for the following year.”
Council members approved Ordinance 2017-09 that establishes Volunteer Energy as the Village of Sunbury’s residential and small business natural gas governmental aggregation provider for the next two years.
Sunbury’s residential and small business natural gas and electricity are opt-out programs. Residents will receive a letter in the mail with a Village of Sunbury logo advising them that they have 20-days to opt-out of the program.
Sunbury’s Cherry Street sewer project will soon be underway. During the phase of the project when the street is being excavated and sewer lines installed, heavy trucks will be rerouted along Route 605. During most of the project, one lane of Cherry Street from Columbus Street to Evening Street will remain open, but to avoid delays most cars could use Granville Street to move around construction.
Sunbury has contracted with CT Consultants to complete a sewer rate study to ensure future sewer rates provide sufficient funds to offset wastewater treatment plant operations, efficient staffing, and maintenance. CT Consultants is also reviewing the wastewater treatment plant’s flow versus its capacity to determine what plant upgrades might be needed, and when, to ensure the plant can handle future development.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.