Monday, April 16, 2018

City Projection of Capital Costs related to Development

The apartment moratorium announced by Mayor Palazzolo last December had as its stated purpose the study of the fiscal impact of the City's newly approved and planned multi-family developments. Although complete cost/benefit studies obviously should have been done prior to any approvals, at least now one City spreadsheet has surfaced which details water and sewer capital/infrastructure costs. I broke the spreadsheet into two pieces for readability. The spreadsheet indicates a total of over eight million dollars is planned for meeting water and sewer infrastructure needs in both the Western Gateway and Forest Hill Heights area. 

Below are the sewer and water capital costs required for  recently approved or planned Smart Growth developments, along with smaller lot residential developments, and I have included a brief discussion: 

1. Sewer

In the above image, the white background indicates future planned sewer projects, while those with the gray background have been completed. As you can see, the City needs over one million dollars worth of sewers in the Forest Hill Heights area, thanks to the new residential developments in the area.

I also find it interesting that two million dollars is being planned for sewer improvements for the Western Gateway. To my knowledge, there have been no formal submissions for development in that area, but the planned expenditure for sewer improvements indicates a likelihood that plans are in progress. In fact, the buzz is that the owner of Carrefour, the shopping center at Kirby Parkway and Poplar, is working on a major redesign which will transform it into a mixed-use development. 

 Click here for the Western Gateway Small Area Plan.   

The conceptual plan for Carrefour from the Small Area Plan:   

Another thing to note from the sewer portion of the spreadsheet is the Miller Farms Pump Station construction, which was completed at a cost of over one million dollars. A source told me that this project was deemed necessary due to past proposed plans for the Arthur property (land west of the Apple store). These plans never came to fruition. Did we, the taxpayers, pay for a pumping station that, in the end, was not needed? The City needs to be mindful of the possiblity that some projects do not get off the drawing board, because the taxpayers do not want to foot the bill for unnecessary sewers or pump stations. 

2. Water


We know about the water tower being planned for a "park" by the new school on Forest Hill. Unfortunately the residents in the area were not consulted during the decision making process, nor were they even told of the plans. They only learned about it through documents that were obtained from the City, and they understandably are distressed about the possibility of having a large water tower looming over their expensive homes. I cannot say that I blame them. Will the "park" at the new school site include a walking trail around a fenced water tower? Time will tell. I don't know a lot about water towers, but I do have some questions. When I look at a map, it seems to me that the area may be closer to adequate Memphis and Collierville water sources than Germantown. Would it make sense to consider having new developments in Forest Hill Heights purchase water from Memphis or Collierville?  City developments south of Winchester already purchase their water from MLGW. If we do need to provide water to this area, could we explore other locations for the water tower, areas that are not in the backyard of million dollar homes?  Do we need a water tower in any case? Aren't there other alternatives to water towers? I don't remember seeing water towers in Memphis, for example. I don't know the answer to these questions; I am merely posing them. Another publication The Germantown Journal has given us more information about water towers in Germantown.

While I know little about water towers, I do know how to use a calculator, and the planned water projects alone just for the Forest Hill Heights area are over $5,000,000. Since capital projects such as these are just one part of the cost related to residential development, it is easy to see how the $85,000 City-commissioned TischlerBise Fiscal Impact Study found that both "status quo" and "dense" residential development has a negative fiscal impact.

3. The above spreadsheet does not include school construction cost, which obviously cannot be ignored. I will discuss school construction costs in a future post.

No comments:

Post a Comment