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Utility approves building plans
The Brunswick Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission will return to initial plans to build an administrative building on the site of the Old Days Inn property on Gloucester Street.

The utility board approved the motion in a 4-1 vote at Thursday's regularly scheduled meeting.

County Commissioner Bob Coleman was the only member of the board who opposed the decision. He said he preferred to wait for the new board to decide what to do when it is seated in January.

The future could hold problems the board does not foresee, and building a multi-million dollar facility is not a sound decision, he said.

"I just don't understand why we would want to spend the money when we can sit tight for another two months and let the new people come in here (and decide)," Coleman said.

But City Commissioners Cornell Harvey and James Brooks thinks the new board, if faced with the options of building or buying and renovating an old building, would make the same choice.

"They will have the same criteria and the same facts," Harvey said. "We would just be kicking it down the road.

"I think the economy will turn around, and we'll get a return on the investment. We need to look forward and we need to build for the future."

The utility board's options were either build a new, permanent facility that meets the needs of the utility for up to $5 million or purchase the old Royal Hotel property on Newcastle Street for $3 million.

There are too many issues with the Newcastle property, the commission found, including a sale price that is more than triple what the property is appraised. The property was valued at just over $900,000.

The board's legal counsel, Desiree Watson, warned the board about making such a deal.

"We have an obligation not to expend funds beyond fair market value, and it's negligence to spend more than that," Watson said. "It is so far above what our appraisal is it would be a breach of that."

For Glynn County Commissioner and utility board chair Clyde Taylor, price is a major sticking point.

"I think we'll be run out of town if we pay $3 million for something appraised at $900,000," Taylor said.

The old Royal Hotel would not suit the needs of the commission anyway, Brooks said.

"When we were considering the Coastal Bank Building (downtown), parking was an issue," Brooks said. "When I look at this proposal, it is the same parking problem."

The utility board will need more than 80 parking spots, but the Royal Hotel offers only 36.

The facility to be constructed near the Gloucester Street intersection with U.S. 17 will feature a drive-thru payment window, something unable to be built into the Royal Hotel.

The board will use Architect Robert Ussery's design plans and begin preparing for construction.

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