Districtconsiders new hook-up rates for timeshares

Published on Thu, Apr 21, 2005
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District considers new hook-up rates for timeshares

The Birch Bay Water and Sewer District (BBWSD) threw a scare into local developer Gold Star Resorts last week by proposing a significant increase in water rates to timeshare condominiums. Because the proposal came earlier in the agenda, before action giving final approval to its service extension contract to Gold Star’s Sandcastle project, the effect would be to raise Gold Star’s water rates by making a major policy change on unacceptably short notice, according to Gold Star.
But after hearing from several people the commission delayed consideration of the measure until a special open meeting set for May 5, and also voted to grandfather the Sandcastle project in under the old rates.

Construction of the $8 million Sandcastle building, whose 49 timeshare condominiums will represent about one third of the total in Birch Bay, is already well under way, something that had Bill Grant and attorney Jack Swanson of Gold Star Resorts politely but firmly crying foul at the unanticipated rate increase.

The two told commissioners that they’d been caught off guard with very little time to respond to the proposal that would add $500 in direct costs to the price of each condominium unit by raising the general facilities charge (GFC). “If you work that increase out over the life of a typical purchase agreement,” Grant told the commissioners, “then you’ll see that you’re adding $1,000 a week to the cost of owning a timeshare condo in Birch Bay.”

BBWSD general manager Roger Brown defended the proposal as “generating a share of the capital cost to pay for the growth” that’s currently happening in the area. “We can’t ask existing rate payers to subsidize growth and we can’t give away service,” said Brown. He said that the “surprising amount” of water being used in the other 101 timeshare units in Goldstar’s Ocean Breezes I and Ocean Breezes II, 148 gallons per day per unit, prompted commissioners to single them out for a rate increase.

The May 5 meeting starts at 4:30 p.m. held at the district offices at 7096 Point Whitehorn Road.