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PCB council purchasing land for new wastewater plant

June 15, 2018

 

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Planning for growth, Beach City Council members at Thursday’s meeting approved an agreement to purchase land for a new wastewater treatment facility.

PCB utilities director Al Shortt said construction probably will begin five to six years from now, depending on the level of commercial and residential development in the service area.

“The existing wastewater treatment plant site is almost fully developed and does not have space to accommodate the projected 12 million gallons per day long-term additional capacity needs. The new site is being acquired now to allow us to plan future transmission and pumping projects that can efficiently deliver flow to either the existing facility or the future facility,” Shortt said.

The current wastewater plant on North Gulf Boulevard will remain in service, he said.

The council approved an agreement with the St. Joe Company to purchase about 40 acres of vacant land west of the Beach Commerce Park for $23,696.43 per developable acre and $3,000 per wetland acre. The city is looking to purchase 30 acres of developable land and 10 acres of wetlands. The acreage was determined by the necessary space for the treatment plant and the need for a new underground utilities building.

A wetland delineation and boundary survey are in progress and are expected to be completed in the upcoming weeks, said Shortt. The survey will determine the final price of the acquired land. Shortt said the city will fund the purchase with existing cash reserves.

Shortt said officials review the facility’s capacity every year as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires them to prepare for new facilities at many thresholds as levels begin to approach capacity by permitting, designing, constructing and planning for new treatment plants.

“We expect to reach the regulatory threshold requiring preliminary planning later this year,” he said.

Once the land is acquired, Shortt said officials will begin preliminary planning for the new treatment plant, and begin the design and construction of a new underground utilities operations facility that will fill a small portion of the wastewater treatment facility site. He said the current building has outgrown the available space, and underground utilities will move to the new site to provide more space for street and stormwater departments.

In addition to planning for a new treatment facility, officials approved an agreement for GAC Contractors to build the new city hall building for about $3.7 million.

Officials said the new building could be completed as early as next year, with construction starting in July.

In other business:

• The council approved an ordinance requiring people who own vacant or abandoned buildings that have boarded windows and doors to paint the boards the same color as the exterior of the building once the building has been boarded for 10 days.

• The council approved an ordinance making a conditional use abandoned if it is discontinued for at least 180 days.

 

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