MOORE HAVEN – Glades County officials hope to obtain grant funding to provide sewer service in the Buckhead Ridge area.
At their Sept. 12 meeting, the Glades County Commission unanimously voted to authorize Okeechobee Utility Authority (OUA) to submit an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for a $15.5 million grant to construct a sewer processing system to service the Buckhead Ridge area community, including the new Lakefront Estates community.
Commission Chairman Tim Stanley said OUA's franchise agreement to provide water service to the Buckhead Ridge area expired in May. He said the FDEP grant application period closes in two days. Without this agreement OUA can’t apply for the grant, he said.
County Attorney Richard Pringle said OUA has spoken to their attorney several times about the grant application to FDEP.
“Commissioner Stanley and I have tried to structure the grant application, so it is to the benefit of the BHR community and Lakefront Estates,” he explained. “Lakefront Estates is working very hard to acquire the FDEP grant so the processing facility can be built there.
“We are working to ensure the Buckhead Ridge community will have service,” he continued.
He said the grant application has to do with the capacity of the sewer processing plant.
“There will be a lot of work to do to run lines to Buckhead Ridge,” he explained.
Pringle said the franchise agreement for water service to Buckhead Ridge was originally with Okeechobee Beach Water Authority. It later transferred to OUA, when OUA took over the City of Okeechobee water and sewer services and Okeechobee Beach Water Authority.
Currently OUA only provides water service to Buckhead Ridge, he said.
“We’re talking about expanding the boundaries so there will be a larger area in the franchise,” he explained. We are talking about adding sewer to the franchise as well, not that it will be available immediately.
“Lakefront Estates is very involved at the state level in obtaining sewer and water services,” said Pringle. “We want to make sure all of Buckhead Ridge is considered at the state level.”
Pringle said Lakefront Estates continues to make its way through the planning process for the development.
In other business, the commissioners voted to accept the low bid from Go Underground Utilities for the Glades County US 27 East Side Sewer Addition project in the amount of $1,992,246.
According to information shared at previous meetings, Lakeside Estates and Villas will include up to 1,300 homes as well as schools, restaurants, stores and public buildings in a new development west of Buckhead Ridge in Glades County. The developers are observant Jews. They purchased the property from Glenn Harvey who previously planned a 470-home development in the same area off SR 78.