Thursday, March 1, 2012

General Public Meeting for USDA Funding

On Tuesday, March 13th the Planning Commission will hold a General Public Meeting (just another way of saying "Public Hearing") on our funding application to the USDA as part of the unbuildable lots work in southern Lake Isabella.  This is the last step in the process of submitting a completed application to the USDA for funding assistance. Our engineers will be at the meeting to give an overview of the project and estimated costs. It is our plan to have more meetings this summer after we submit the finalized application and hear back from the USDA with solid numbers on the actual funding options.

Last year the Village submitted a preliminary application to see if the project was even eligible for funding via the USDA Rural Development. The USDA responded that the project was eligible, but several items were needed on the part of the Village to finalize the application and determine if any grant funds would be available to the project. A copy of that letter is on our website at: http://www.lakeisabellami.org/USDA%20Funding%20Letter.pdf
The USDA specifically requested that we do the following to finalize the application (see page 2 of their letter):

1. Complete an Environmental Report. This was done for the Village at no cost by the Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP). A copy of the report, and the notice of the availability of the report are both on the homepage to our website.

2. Submit a draft engineering agreement. This has been done at our request by our engineering firm.

3. Hold a General Public Meeting.

All of this is part of our on-going effort to address the decades old problem of unbuildable lots in portions of the Village. In 2008 the Village undertook environmental testing in the 5 plats which had restrictions on the number of on-site well and septic systems which could be developed. That testing showed that in 2 of the plats (Lake Isabella Airpark & Canterbury Estates) the soil and groundwater conditions were suitable for further development. In one of the other three plats (Lake Isabella North) we found conditions were suitable through most of the plat. We are working on an alternative solution in that plat with the MDEQ, Isabella County, and CMDHD. The last two plats (Lake Isabella South & Lake Isabella Golf Estates II) have widespread areas where further development of on-site systems is not environmentally feasible. As both of these areas are recorded plats, we are confined to finding a solution which addresses the problem for all lots in the plat. After multiple studies (all of which can be found on our website at http://www.lakeisabellami.org/unbuildable_lots.htm) We have elected to pursue a STEP wastewater collection and treatment system as the idea to eventually propose to the property owners in these two plats.

The meeting on the 13th is only to satisfy our application requirements with the USDA. The Planning Commission is only receiving public comment which will be sent to the USDA, the matter will not be voted on at this time. Likewise, nothing done by the Village obligates the community to moving forward with the project or funding. It is our hope that with a finalized application, we will be able to fully present accurate cost information to the public later this year in the meetings referenced above. The Village has always maintained the position that we will only go as far as the property owners tell us to, and will not under any condition move forward without a majority of those property owners supporting the project. That phase of the project should be this summer once we have submitted a final and complete application to the USDA.

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