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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.

To save 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.

1)          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.


2)    In the Conclusion Section of the initial draft HD Engineers recommended the City consider a “building moratorium”, yet in future versions this was deleted.

3)    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.

4)    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 of life.