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Franklin County Growth Strains Sewer, Water System

County leaders are considering temporarily lifting the requirement that new homes have access to water and sewer lines. They want to ease pressure on the county's sewer facilities.

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LOUISBURG, N.C. — Growth is straining Franklin County's water and sewer system to the point where county leaders are considering temporarily allowing homes to be built without access to the system.

Current regulations stipulate that new homes must be built within 10,000 feet of a water line and 2,500 feet of a sewer line.

County leaders are considering lifting that requirement for between six and eight months. The move would ease pressure on the county's sewer plant, which is running at 80 percent of its capacity, officials said.

Temporarily suspending the water-sewer requirement is a short-term measure while county leaders come up with a long-term plan to accommodate widespread growth, they said.

"We're not going to stop building in any fashion," Bryce Mendenhall, the county's public-utilities director, said. "They can continue to come in and look for plot approvals and submit for development, but the requirement will not be there."

Without the water-sewer requirement, new homes would use well water and a septic tank, or homeowners would have to petition the Franklin County Board of Commissioners to receive service.

The proposal should not deter growth, according to the Franklin County Homebuilders Association.

"We have over 4,000 approved lots in the county that are sitting and waiting, ready to be built," Rosemary Champion, executive officer of the association, said. "And I feel like those lots may become more valuable."

Franklin County has 56,000 residents now and is experiencing an annual growth rate of around 2 percent.

Mendenhall will present the proposal to temporarily lift the water-sewer requirement to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night. The board is expected to vote on the proposal at a later meeting.


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