Clay board, residents discuss basin repair

By on September 5, 2012

By: JACQUELINE WATSON Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

As they take care of repairs throughout the community, Clay Township is trying to encourage input and keep residents as informed participants of the process.

The board’s August monthly meeting took place two days before a scheduled meeting specifically for residents of Countryside Drive. The problem being addressed was that of the storm basin on Countryside Drive and needed remediation.

The issue was first brought to the attention of the township by complaints from residents of things such as mosquitoes and not being able to mow in certain areas because of water level. After investigation, it was discovered by township engineer Bob Lynn that the storm swale along Countryside Drive was not working properly. These malfunctions were caused at least in part by encroachments that were put within the easement against regulations over the years. These encroachments will have to be removed by the property owners at their own expense.

Different repair options are being considered. The one repair option includes a grass swale and another option a concrete swale. The varying pros and cons of these different options for residents and for the township were discussed.

Positives of the grass option are that it will be more aesthetic and a cheaper price. Benefits of the concrete option are its longevity, low maintenance for residents and less disruption to the surrounding area for its installation. The meeting was planned to give residents a chance to hear a detailed description of the options and offer input.

"I think gauging the level of cooperation with the homeowner is probably a good thing to get a read on that before we go into what we’re going to do. I mean, if it comes down to you need to make a cut and dry decision, then that’s what you do," commented Lynn.

Which direction is taken could be impacted by whether residents are willing to take on any of the financial responsibility incurred by repairs.

"I guess my thought is that number one, we don’t have to do anything like you already said. Number two, repairing it to its existing is the lower number and that requires a whole lot more inconvenience for the property owner. So, if we’re going to look at the third option, the higher expense option, that’s where the township is looking for input from them and participation," noted vice-chairman Justin Harnish.

"One thing that the residents have to be aware of is regardless of what the township does, they only want to do it once. So, they’re going to have to be kept on their toes with regards to maintenance," added Lynn.

Although repair work would probably not be able to be started until spring, the board would like a final decision to be reached soon. This would give property owners plenty of time to clear out their encroachments within the easement before the repairs are started.

Another repair discussion was planned to be held earlier in the day with the Echternachs and Kimmets of Wildflower Pond. These repairs include a sink hole and a damaged storm water pipe bordering the two properties.

According to the agreement between the property owners and the developer, the property owners are financially responsible for such repairs. The Echternachs had earlier expressed their possible inability to pay for such costly repairs. The board planned to offer to make initial payment for the repairs only if necessary. This financial assistance would be for a limited time and include such details as zero percent interest for the first two years and a lean on the property until repayment is made.

This payment plan is an option, but not a preference. One drawback to this option is that it would be more cost effective for the property owners to contract the repair work directly rather than going through the township. Despite its drawbacks, it gives the community another option for rare situations where residents might have to make such costly repairs.

"It was basically giving them the ability to pay the cost where they can’t now," explained township solicitor Jennifer Meija of the financial option. "This is hopefully somewhat of an extreme case. I mean just the location, the nature of everything which warrants looking at it."

The board planned to discuss options and details with property owners. The township continues to progress on these and various other repairs throughout the township. More CLAY, page A16

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