FARR WEST -- Despite reports that the site at 1979 Heritage Drive is safe to build on, three council members voted to deny approval of the site plan and conditional-use permit for Seasons Assisted Living facility.
Mayor Jimmie Papageorge told the packed audience public comment would not be allowed, but some called out as the facility was discussed.
City engineer Kent Jones said the concerns with the planned subdivision development are wet lands, ground water and surface water.
"This particular property has had a delineation submitted to the Corps of Engineers where the wetlands are designated. They had to make sure the development does not touch or mitigate them. They moved their development away from any wetland," Jones said.
"The second issue ... There are concerns this particular facility would increase the groundwater. As we have met and talked about ground water, I can tell you we are of an opinion that the construction of this building will not add any groundwater."
Jones introduced Andrew Harris, an engineer from Earthtec Engineering, who was hired by developer Anthony Marler's group to look at the land for development.
Harris said he dug test bits, collected soil samples and found the soil is silty and sandy and can flow water.
Regarding surface water, Jones said the rate of the water going into the channel won't be affected by development.
Councilman Lee Dickemore disagreed, saying he spent several days recently with the Corps of Engineers. He raised the issue of artesian wells and said six to eight wells are in the development area.
Water will have to go somewhere, he said, and a new delineation of the area is needed because the last one was done in 2003 and is outdated.
"The whole intent of this is to not even touch the wetlands," Jones said, adding that he was confused by the request for further delineations.
"I'm not an engineer, I'm an educator," Dickemore said, "but if this delineation in 2003 is old, we need a new delineation."
Dickemore moved to deny approval of the site plan and conditional-use permit. Ava Painter and Dale Chugg also voted to deny it.
Michael Lunt and Tim Shupe voted against the denial, with Shupe saying:
"I'm not an engineer either. I have to rely on these guys (engineers). I don't see any ulterior motive. I haven't seen any bad data. They are not going to haul in 400 truckloads of dirt and dump it in the wetlands."