Newspaper Archive of
Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
October 30, 2007     Lassen County Times
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October 30, 2007

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Lassen County Times Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007 7A upervisors Shayla Ashmore Staff Writer sash Difficulty m securing water and wastewater sources for surplus Army property in Herlong is stalling develop. merit of new housing. Milwaukee-based Towne Development, of Sacramento, proposed building 154 single- family homes on 400 acres the local reuse authority acquired from the 1995 U.S. Army Base Reuse and Closure process. The county hired Towne Homes to devel- op three tracts, as part of the planned progression for offer- ing more than 4,000 total acres for development. xtend ntract with firm to put 154 homes in Herlong The Lassen County Board of Supervisors voted in February to Offer an exclusive negotiating agreement with Towne as the successful respondent to a request for qualifications it distributed in September 2006. The six-month agreement with Towne began on April 23 and was set to expire on Oct. 23. The bdard approved a six- month extension at its Tuesday, Oct. 23 meeting. As a very conservative com- pany, Towne responded to the most immediate need: hous- ing for civilian employees at SIAD and the Herlong Federal Prison, Jeff Penstein, the regional manager Towne Development, in Sacramento, told the board in January. The Towne master plan calls for 154 residential units around a town green, along with duplexes and a retail area. The company was fully capable of designing a larger component, he said, but decided to start with 1,300- 1,600 square:foot houses as the first phase. Penstein said the company would start work on how to get and pay for sewer and water service for the homes and get houses built within a year. The county Community Development Commission accOpted Towne's design plans for the project in June. However, in an Oct. 10 letter to Assistant Community Development Director Joe Bertotti, Jeremy Goulant, Towne's project manager, cited an unavoidable delay in completing a master facilities plan and financing plan for the project. Goulant blamed "the delay in identifying, and the uncertainty surrounding, both water and wastewater sources for the project." Towne ,will submit the two remaining plans for approval "once we have certainty that Herlong Utilities, Inc. is pre- pared to move forward ~;ith the expansion of their water system to service the pro- posed development; and an agreement is executed between the Sierra Army Depot and-Towne, or a third party, to provide wastewater services." HistOry Bertotti recommend Towne in January, because of the company's demonstrated capacity to finance a project, the proposal's reasonableness and the organization's staff. Towne's team includes a finance and consulting firm it's worked Withfor years on numerous projects, according to a presentation the board heard on Jan. 16. "That does not necessarily eliminate any potential future agreement with anoth- er party for the remaining property," County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen said in January. At the Jan. 16 board meet- ing, Susanville resident Ken Battson made a presentation for Reno-based Leader Construction. Former Sierra Army Depot Commander Col. Paul Plemmons also spoke for Leader. Plemmons said he planned to join Leader's mar- keting team when he retired from the Army. Leader pro. posed an eco-industrial park as a sustainable green-energy facility. HERLONG, from page 1A ty to buildthe infrastructure through a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan. While Williams said the loan isn't 100 percent approved yet, it would total $4 million in infrastructure loans, with an additional $1 million m grant funds as well. Williams said the goal for the increase in infrastructure is ultimately to provide the community of Herlong and the Sierra Army Depot with a safer supply of drinking water than the base already has. He said the current water" supply for Herlong has been tested to have a high concen- tration of the element man- ganese. Williams said water with a high enough concen- tration of manganese can act as a neurotoxin to people, can stain buildings black, and is generally gritty and bad tast- ing. "Our water doesn't .have any issues with manganese," Williams said. "It's also a viable source as far as water rationing or drought condi- tions. This summer, (SIAD) This is one of the two water pumps Herlong Utilities Inc. uses toget, . wate 'frbm"t~he Long Valley Aquifer, the main source of the utility's fresh water, had mandatory conservation on irrigation because of their lack of a sufficient supply of water. Once we connect to them, that won't be an issue anymore." Flores said the utility board is currently in the process of negotiating a contract with SIAD to provide water in a bulk, wholesale agreement The utility is currently talk- ing with the Susanville Indian Rancheria to provide water for tribal members liv- ing on land given to the rancheria during the 2005. Base Realignment and Closure process. The West Patton Village Community Service District provided $50,000 in startup funds for the utility's expan- sion, but Flores said the dis- trict has since pulled out of the agreement for unknown reasons Flores said he will talk more with the WPVCSD as the utility begins expan- sion. Williams said the utility would monitor water usage for .all of its regular cus- tomers via water meters unless HUI provides its water wholesale, such as it does. with SIAD. The utility also is negotiating to provide water to local school districts, in Herlong, such as Fort Sage Unified School District, which currently gets its water from SIAD. "The project scope has changed dramatically from two years ago," Williamssaid. "The initial project was infea- sible for the community, so we've downsized and made it a more realistic project. We've brought costs down dramatically. The init ial cost to the customers per month would have been $125, where- as now will be able to provide water for $42 to $66 a month, based on much water is con- sumed." Flores said if everything goes according to plan, the utility will be upgrading the infrastructure by December of this year. Flores said even- tually the expansion of the system will hook HUI into the community of Herlong. "We want to be a public util- ity," said. "We are more than willing to be as open as POssi- ble with anyone who wants to know how we run the busi- ness. We have nothing to hide. Pat Williams has done an out- standing job ever since he was brought in six months ago. We're at the point now where we are just trying to assist all of the other agen- cies in He rlong to help jump- start the growth in the com- munity. We're trying to do this at a reasonable rate while providing the lowest cost pos- sible." k. ,m~1 th Come Join Us at 205 N. Fairfield, SusanviUe Speaker: Lesson: Fri. 7 pm: 9 Ryan Hiilburn Following Jesus Sat. 10 am: 9 Huel Morphis Growing in Jesus Sat. 11 am: 9 Jason Arey Fellowship in Jesus Sun. 10 am: 9 Dave Fiddament Bringa Friend to Jesus Sun. 11 am: Sun. 6pm: 9 Bret Cornelison :9 Walt Zinko Becoming Like Jesus Living With Jesus For more information call (530)253-5433 , Sponsored by the Susanville Church of Christ /f" Herlong Utilities Inc. General Manager Pat Williams, left, and HUI Board President Felix Flores stand over a clarifier, a tank used to store sewer water for the utility. Photos by Patrick Shillito We like to customers our sec support as we year- m to set year! Custom Homes Additions- Garage Packages Residential o Commercial I I Custom designed according to your specifications Or bring your .own custom plans Unique, pre-designed home plans Fully licensed &insured Lic, #763336 :BERT