City of Brentwood Sewer Issues
In late 2013
the City of Brentwood commissioned a sewer study to determine, as originally
stated in the Purposes Section, how much additional commercial development could
be done after Brentwood is built out. A
final draft of the study, delivered to the City in February of 2014, confirmed
Brentwood is at a critical point whereby enough sewer capacity is not available
for complete build out and sewer capacity for additional development in the
Town Center/C-4 area, if continued, would have to be robbed from landowners
with undeveloped property in other parts of the City. The report stated C-4 type development uses
at least twice as much sewer capacity as other development types. If Town Center/C-4 commercial development is
abandoned and Brentwood returns to development in the manner in which it was
originally planned there is still time to avoid massive expenses associated
with replacing or upgrading our sewer infrastructure.
It is troubling
that City Officials manipulated the original draft of
the sewer report to remove important warnings and recommendations from the
engineers who completed to the study in order to purposely withhold this
information from citizens and our Commissioners, who are our elected
representatives to make decisions about the long term future of Brentwood. You are encouraged to review the
attached original version of the report, the April 18 edited version and the edited
final copy certified June 4, 2014 for distribution.
time, below is a summary of some of the key issue which were ignored, deleted,
modified or restated in order to give the casual reader of just the Executive
Summary or Conclusion Sections of the final certified sewer report a rosy
picture that Brentwood has plenty of future sewer capacity.
Redevelopment of the Town Center and
Expanded C-4 Areas was omitted from the study summaries.
The engineers confirmed the study was
constructed using an assumption the Town Center and Expanded C-4 Areas are
totally built out and would not be redeveloped at a higher density. However, the majority of commercial
redevelopment in Brentwood has been in the Town Center and Expanded C-4
Areas. The Mooreland Mansion is being
converted to a Hilton Garden Inn. City
Park buildings will require additional sewer capacity. Plans were also recently announced for a five
story hotel on the vacant property in Town Center across from the lawnmower
shop. These are all examples of
redevelopment in the general Town Center/C-4 area. Additional erroneous assumptions were made
starting on page 23 of the final version of the report. This
section discusses the Town Center/C-4 Area and states falsely “the footprint of
an office or retail building can only occupy 30% of a site”.
The report also assumes “…all potential
office development is three stories tall and retail development is one story
tall”. These are restrictions In C1, C-2
and C-3 Zoning, but not Town Center/C-4 Zoning.
The fact the study is based on these type of false assumptions means our
actual situation relative to sewer capacity is far worse than the final
certified version of the study indicates.
It is hard to conceive that citizens paid for a sewer study which did
not mention the words Town Center or C-4 in either the Executive Summary or
Conclusion Sections of any of the report versions. City officials could have corrected these
false assumptions, which skewed results toward more available capacity, in the
multiple revisions of the report which occurred. However, they failed to do so even though
considerable effort was spent modifying other points which were not favorable
toward additional development.
In the Conclusion Section of the
initial draft HD Engineers
recommended the City consider a
“building moratorium”, yet in future versions this was deleted.
In the Conclusion Section of the initial
draft HD Engineers state “…a record of sewer use should be maintained and sewer
availability should be verified for each proposed development.” This important recommendation was deleted
from future revisions of the report.
In the initial draft of the sewer
report, on page 6, one of the stated purposes of the study was to determine
“How does the development of the Turner Property impact the sewer
capacity?” This stated purpose was removed
from the final version of the report.
In fact, any reference to the Turner Property (Section D) was
expunged from the final version of the report, even though it was an important
enough factor for the City to devote one whole page to this piece of property
in the 2020 Plan. The section which was
deleted included an additional recommendation by the engineers which states “…any
proposal presented for the development of this property will require an in
depth analysis to ensure the requested sewer demand does not exceed the
capacity of the system relative to the agreement with Metro Nashville.” (Metro
Nashville processes Brentwood’s sewage)
Why was the sewer report modified to reflect a more positive
outlook relating to sewer capacity? Who
is responsible for this action? These
are important questions citizens should ask their elected representatives. This is not the kind of transparency in
government Brentwood citizens deserve.
It is time to hold our elected officials and city staff responsible for
the impact irresponsible and uncontrolled development is having on our quality