Brentwood Today Lake Decision Delayed, Again

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After almost 20 years, the fate of the Brentwood Today Lake remains unknown.

Members of the city’s Public Works Committee Tuesday decided to again delay a decision on how to deal with the lake to give property owners more time to discuss how they want to proceed.

The City Council has been promising to fix the aging dam since 1994; it failed in March 2012. The lake emptied and has since started to restore itself as a wetland.

“It’s already beginning to re-naturalize with some vegetation coming up,” said Scott Bryant of the city’s stormwater utility department.

The lake is owned by Smada Construction Company, whose representatives say they want to keep the lake as undeveloped space, but no longer want to own it. They have expressed interest in donating the late to the surrounding property owners or to a nonprofit such as the Triangle Land Conservancy.

If the city were to restore the lake, as it has planned, the lakeside homeowners would need to form an association that would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance. The city would be responsible for the new dam and spillway.

At a committee meeting in July 2012, Councilor and committee member Thomas Crowder suggested turning the lake into a public amenity complete with a trail around the perimeter. If the lake were to be open to the public, the city would take on the maintenance.

The residents in attendance balked at the suggestion of a trail running through their properties.

Only 13 homeowners agreed to join an association, said resident Bob Mulder during Tuesday’s meeting.

Staff suggested four options for the committee to consider:

  • The city could repair the dam and spillway and restore the lake for $1.9 million, but residents would have to agree to create an association that would be responsible for the maintenance of the lake. Or, the current owner would need to agree to remain responsible. The city would only be responsible for the maintenance of the dam and spillway.
  • The city could do a scaled-down project that would remove the failed dam and restore the wetlands. This option would cost anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million.
  • The third option is similar to the second. The failed dam would be removed and the stream would be restored in the most basic manner possible. This would cost $300,000 to $450,000.
  • The fourth option is doing nothing and letting the stream and wetlands repair itself. According to the staff report, the second and third options provide better water quality.
  • The city is ready to go with the capital project that would restore the lake, but would need cooperation from the lake owner if the residents are not willing to take responsibility.

    If not, Bryant said staff recommends the third option, followed by the second and finally the fourth.

    Councilor and committee member John Odom has been championing for the full restoration of the lake, which is in his district.

    “I think past councils agreed to clean this lake out,” he said.

    He asked that the committee give the residents more time to reach a decision as to whether they want to form an association or turn the lake into a wetland.

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