Logan denies sewer hookup waiver

By William Kibler

bkibler@altoonamirror.com

Logan Township supervisors on Thursday declined to waive a requirement for a public sewer hookup on a South Dartmouth Lane lot, despite a recommendation from the township planning commission, after the owner of the subdivision who sold the lot said hooking up to public sewer was a critical part of the sale agreement.

The township has no justification for granting the waiver to lot owner Doug Madden anyway, because while the line he needs to run exceeds the distance within which public hookup is mandatory, the subdivision as a whole is within that distance, so every lot within it comes under the hookup obligation, solicitor Dan Stants said.

Jesse Moyer, owner of the original subdivision with partner J.T. Mattas, said their company sold Madden the 6-acre lot at the back of the subdivision at a discount with the understanding that Madden would extend the sewer main to the subdivision property line and run a lateral to his property, enabling the partners to inexpensively hook on to the lateral for an office building for storage units they’re building and inexpensively hook on for another lot near the front of the subdivision property.

If the township had allowed Madden to build a septic system on his lot, it would have cost the partners $30,000 to $40,000 to make the public hookups, Mattas said after the meeting.

Madden had argued before the planning commission that it made sense to grant the waiver because it would cost him $70,000 to extend the public main to the subdivision boundary, under supervision of a certified engineer, then install the lateral, which would require a deep trench through a rock ledge to achieve the proper slope — compared to $9,000 for the conventional septic system, for which he already has permission.

Granting a waiver would have violated the approved plan for the subdivision of which Madden’s lot is a part — and must remain a part, Stants said.

When subdivisions are created under a municipality’s subdivision and land development ordinance, the distance from the subdivision’s nearest boundary to the public main determines whether all lots within the subdivision must hook on to public sewer, Stants said.

It’s not an option for owners of lots that are themselves beyond the hookup distance to further subdivide, so they can avoid the public hookup requirement, Stants said.

If it were, everyone with such a lot that could get permission for a septic system would ask to break away, he said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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