The construction boom in South End and SouthPark could soon come to a halt because of an issue that’s vital but decidedly unsexy — sewer capacity.
The city of Charlotte is currently telling developers that potential future projects could be held up because our city’s sewer infrastructure would not be able to handle the additional demand.
Anything currently approved is OK. Developments in the future could be delayed.
The most significant problems are on Fairview Road near SouthPark mall and in the Lower South End area of Scaleybark Road and South Boulevard, according to a memo from Charlotte Water.
This all means that construction project approvals in two of the hottest parts of town could be delayed months — or even years — until Charlotte can put in bigger and better underground pipes.
Under state rules, the city cannot approve connections to the sewer system that would cause it to overflow. That would halt proposed development until the system is expanded — which takes a lot of time and money.
“While the solutions to these capacity issues are expensive and will take some time to complete, Charlotte Water is working hard to provide the capacity,” the memo reads.
In an email to city councilman LaWana Mayfield, a Charlotte Water deputy director David Czerr says his organization is working with developers on solutions. He writes that most of the time, developments are able to go forward as planned but that some have been disallowed because they would exceed the sewer capacity.
In the memo, Charlotte Water blames the rapid development and “changed land use” for the problems. It’s an odd explanation, especially along South Boulevard — where the city has been expecting and inviting development since the Blue Line light rail went in a decade ago.
The city is planning to invest more money into speeding up sewer capacity projects. All told, it could run $15 million per year.