Clay supervisors debate sewer systems

By on March 31, 2016

A 70-acre plot of farmland is marked for development, but that won’t happen until a proper sewer system can be decided on and installed. That was the topic of discussion at the March 14 meeting of the Clay Township Supervisors meeting.

The land, along Route 322 and Wood Corner Road, has been zoned light industrial for several years, but only one business, “Tents for Rent” is built on the property.

Marlin Sensenig, managing partner with “Countryside Enterprises,” requested permission to install a low-pressure sewer system, or grinder pump system, in order to subdivide the lot into six parcels for industrial businesses.

The alternative would be to build a pumping station, but at $350,000, Sensenig told the supervisors the cost would be too prohibitive to building anything on the lots.

The size of the proposed development has been reduced by 50 percent, Sensenig said, making the low pressure sewer system, which would cost about $12,000, an adequate, and more attractive, solution.

The low-pressure system seemed like a short-term solution to Supervisor Gary Landis, who said he preferred construction of a pumping station.

“You have to ask yourself, do you want the area developed or not?” asked Landis. “If we don’t approve any kind of pressure system, it might bring this to a stop.”

The supervisors even considered constructing a pumping station now, just in case it would be needed in the future, in order to benefit development.

“Planning isn’t about short-term fixes,” said Township Manager Bruce Leisey. “Planning is getting an infrastructure that everybody can live with. A pumping station would be the best long-term solution.”

Not everyone at the meeting felt the introduction of more business was necessary.

One man asked if the land couldn’t be kept for agriculture, in a “long-term” way.

But Sensenig said more businesses would bring needed tax dollars into the area.

“I’d like to see this area developed; that’s been its zoning for the past 20 years,” said Chairman Timothy Lausch.

Supervisor Keith Martin excused himself from the discussion, due to a conflict of interest, as he had been employed by Sensenig.

“My understanding is that we’re being asked to give an opinion, not a decision,” Landis said, deferring to the Ephrata Borough Council.

The Ephrata Borough Council provides sewer services to the people of the township and will have the final say on what type of waste disposal unit will be built, Landis said.

The supervisors will draft a letter to the borough, giving their opinion on the matter, Leisey said.

In another matter, Christian Landis, of the 100 block of Durlach Hill Road, will split costs with the township to put up speed limit signs at his property.

Landis had put up two large chicken houses and was informed he might have to pay for a traffic study, in order to get the speed limit lowered. A number of large trucks will be entering and leaving the driveway to the chicken houses.

The road fronting Landis’ property isn’t posted, Leisey said, so the speed limit is automatically 55 mph. But since he meets the requirements for a residential zone, Landis won’t have to pay for a traffic study.

Instead, 25 mph signs will be posted for about one-quarter mile before and after the entrance to the chicken houses.

The supervisors approved the addition of a new food concession stand to be added to Snyder Park, in a combined fund-raising effort by the Baron Stiegel Lions Club and local athletic groups.

The concession stand will likely be open in time for a baseball tournament in April, and is expected to become a permanent fixture at the park, with the help of volunteers. The stand will be open a few nights a week to accommodate practice times, as well as games.


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