A legal battle could be brewing between Etowah Water and Sewer Authority and the city of Dawsonville if the two cannot agree on the boundaries of their service areas.
The issue stems from water and sewer service for a proposed motorsports park in western Dawson County.
“It is my understanding that the city has drilled a well in the area, not on the property, but in the area,” said Brooke Anderson, general manager of the authority.
Anderson said the property in question, between Hwys. 136 and 183, is “very clearly in our service area.”
“This is not an overlap,” he said. “This is very much several miles outside the city’s service area and well inside ours.”
But Administrator Kim Cornelison contends Dawsonville “can drill wherever we want” if the property is in the city.
The Atlanta Motorsports Park site and some surrounding property was annexed into the city in 2006.
The authority draws water from the Etowah River, while the city gets its water from a series of wells and springs. Both entities have separate customers and service areas.
Anderson alerted the city to the authority’s concern in a recent letter.
Cornelison summed up the disagreement as follows: “[The authority] contends we’re out of our service area agreement, and we contend we’re going to serve that which is the city’s. That’s it.”
Anderson, however, said the city and authority entered into a contract in 1989 that limited Dawsonville’s water and sewer service area to a boundary that circled its perimeter.
The authority’s service area, he said, lies outside the circle.
“That’s a contract the two government entities have entered into, and we have both honored that agreement and hope to continue to honor that agreement,” Anderson said.
Cornelison said the problem stems from a “convolution of agreements.
“We serve water well outside that [circular] service area all the time,” she said.
“The agreements have holes in them.
“There were gentlemen’s agreements from the past that weren’t necessarily documented as they should have been that Brooke had no prior knowledge of. He doesn’t recognize those agreements.”
Said Anderson: “Written contracts and agreements are put in place for a reason. The contracts and service delivery agreements have not changed, and you have to honor what you’ve agreed to. It’s important.”
Anderson said his letter to the city council addressed these concerns.
The authority’s five-member board did not review the letter, but Anderson said the message represented “the voice of the authority, not the voice of Brooke Anderson.”
Anderson said he hopes “the city will respond in some manner, and then we can try and work it out.”
“If we’re successful, the authority will provide water to the development,” he said. “If we’re not successful, then the lawyers get involved and it gets real interesting after that.”
Cornelison agreed that litigation could be looming.
“It has the potential to go that way,” she said.
The motorsports park is at the center of its own legal battle.
The 152-acre site is the subject of a lawsuit with nearby property owners, who contend it will cause a nuisance to their lives and their horse-training business.
Plans call for nearly three miles of high performance road course for two- and four-wheel vehicles, a members-only lounge, 10,000 square-foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails.