LEESBURG — Survey work on the water/sewer extension for the new elementary school on Robert B. Lee Drive here has been completed, paving the way for work to begin on the school.
Ronny Dudley, a vice president with the Stevenson & Palmer Engineering firm and the city of Leesburg’s engineering consultant, told the Leesburg City Council at its Tuesday-night meeting that his company is awaiting information from the Lee County School System’s architect before it can complete its work on the initial phase of the project.
“We’ve been promised information from the architect in the next couple of weeks,” Dudley told the board. “We’re at a point where we should be able to stay ahead on that project.”
Dudley also told the council a pair of high-profile projects — the city’s recently completed wastewater treatment plant and a Department of Community Affairs-financed stormwater project — had been completed.
“We’ll actually be sending a little bit of money back to DCA because cost of (the stormwater project) came in a little lower than we expected,” he said. “It made more sense to send the money back than to try and find a way to spend it.”
Todd Lanier with Lanier Engineering also gave the council a first look at flood elevation maps his company had prepared on behalf of the city and Lee County. The maps provide a more accurate flood plane than one drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2009, which would have forced a number of families not actually at risk to buy expensive flood insurance.
“About a dozen or so (families) will come out of the flood plane based on the new maps,” Lanier said. “It will affect families in the Groover Park and 12 Oaks subdivisions mostly.
“We’re ready to submit the maps to FEMA, and if they meet their approval, they will send out a letter acknowledging the new flood plane. Once FEMA approves the new maps and elevations, then I’d release this information to the public. You don’t want to tell people (they’re out of the flood plane) until you’re sure FEMA gives its approval.”
The Council voted 4-1 to approve a zoning request by Barbara and Jerome Smith that would allow the couple to open a 4-E Learning and Prevention Center at 121 Walnut St. Planning commission Chairman Troy Golden said the learning center “appears consistent with commercial property use at that location” and said the commission recommended approval of the conditional use request.
Councilwoman Debra Long voted against the proposal.
The council voted 3-2 against a recommendation to require the city’s 28 employees to receive their pay through direct deposit. Councilman Bob Wilson said he felt such a move would prove a “hardship for people who have never had a checking account.”
Councilwomen Judy Powell and Rhonda Futch voted to approve the matter, while Wilson, Long and Richard Bush voted against it.
Dudley put the council on notice that low pressure from the city’s water tanks made the installation of modern sprinkler systems at county schools impossible. He suggested installing a new tank in the near future and then, after it came on line, raising the level of the existing tank at Lee County High School “30 to 40 feet.”
“That additional height will increase pressure,” Dudley said.
Asked about the cost of a new tank, Dudley said his firm had installed a 250,000-gallon tank for the city of Sparks recently at a cost of $493,000.
“You might think of a 500,000-gallon tank here,” he said. “That would cost around $1 million.”