WAXHAW – Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing tried to give Waxhaw leaders some direction Feb. 13 on dealing with growth amid a shortage of sewer capacity but the group wound up talking in circles. However, Waxhaw commissioners thanked Rushing for starting a dialogue and encouraged him to bring other towns together for a more unified approach.
Rushing told the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners that the county will have a two to three year window to figure out how to fund more sewer capacity without raising rates through the roof on citizens.
Rushing encouraged Waxhaw to join the county in lobbying lawmakers to allow them to push commercial projects ahead of housing because such uses put less of a strain on sewer capacity. He believes the county has a legal argument to prioritize projects due to scarcity.
“But currently that isn’t the law,” Mayor Ron Pappas replied.
“There’s times that we challenge the state,” Rushing said. “There’s times that we win. There’s times that we lose. But I believe any smart representative that we have in Union County would agree that we need to be able to put a commercial project in front of a residential one. “
“We have to live within the laws,” Pappas interjected. “You do, as well.”
Rushing told them they have the ability to deny any commercial or residential rezoning; however, Pappas and McMillon said Waxhaw did not have that ability. McMillon said the town could get fined. Pappas said they could be sued.
Rushing said the state may allow them to do it while Pappas and McMillon insisted they have to operate under current law.
“There are options and legislative solutions that we’re looking for,” Rushing told them.
“But you have to look for those solutions and have those legislative policies in place because if they are not in place as a town legally and by state law we can be fined for doing things like that,” McMillan said. “So if you are saying that you are looking to work with the town being Waxhaw or any other municipality here in Union County then that is something that as county commissioner and chair that you form that liaison to do so to work with us in understanding and getting these goals met but to ask us to go against state law which then can put our citizens or residents and the town in Jeopardy by denying without it already being a legal legislative policy in place then is going to put us in jeopardy as a town.”
Rushing reiterated the town “slow down on residential rezonings for now” and tell those developers to come back in a year.
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