Hess Development residents must connect to water system

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Residents in the Hess Development should receive a letter from Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority in the next week or two. Members Greg Rock, Bob Miller and Jason Gerhart passed a resolution Monday night regarding mandatory connection. They would not release details publicly on a timeframe or cost until the households were first notified directly. The decision was reached after an executive session within the meeting.

 The resolution read, "Whereas this board is authorized, pursuant to Antrim Township Ordinance 266 of 2000, to take appropriate action regarding the connection of principal buildings lying within 150 feet of the authority's public water supply to said public water supply, and whereas this board wishes to exercise its authority in such a way as to minimize the financial burden on those property owners who are subject to the requirements of the ordinance, now, therefore, it is hereby resolved that the authority manager (Kenneth Womack) and solicitor (Jan Sulcove) be authorized and directed to take such action as they deem appropriate to secure the connection of the residences in the Hess Development to the authority's public water supply."

The board said they had been working on the issue for a long time and were finally ready to take action.

Since 2007 the Hess Development has been in the news. GAFCWA notified the residents that after a water line was installed in 2008, ten homes would be required to connect. It negotiated with Antrim Township on a timeline and fee for the connection. The homes were in the Greencastle service area but located in the township. GAFCWA put the ordinance enforcement on the back burner in 2009 after it made an offer to purchase the Antrim Township Water Authority water system. The mandatory connection then became a point of contention between the two municipalities, with both taking opposite stances on the meaning of a law which took effect in September 2008. Some Antrim supervisors believe the law exempted Hess from hooking up to public water, but Greencastle did not agree. The purchase of the water system has not occurred, due in part to this issue.

In other business, the members recognized that if Tom Mongold did not make his next payment toward a water main extension on U.S. 11 South that would serve his Heritage Estates West development, time could run out and he might not have access to public water. The May 2 deadline for a remittance of $223,000 had passed. GAFCWA had initially intended to let its engineer start the infrastructure design process on Dec. 1, but delayed that until Mongold signed an agreement on how another $841,000 would be paid. On May 16 the board said construction timing was crucial since PennDOT would be paving the highway next year. The authority did not plan to move forward on the water main project until it received the late payment.