Septic debate simmers
“I cannot sit here and listen to baseless accusations,” said engineer Tom Olley during a public hearing last week before the Town of Montgomery Planning Board.
Olley spoke on behalf of the property owner, Sheryl Melick, a councilwoman in the town. The public hearing on the proposed 2-lot subdivision and lot line change, which would separate one parcel with the existing house and shed, one parcel with the two-family residence and have a third parcel with a new single-family residence, has been continued since early April as neighbors have expressed concern about the project.
The property is located on the south side of Route 17K between Barron Road and Old Maybrook Road.
Neighbors are concerned about the impact the new septic systems and fill will have on stormwater drainage, groundwater and neighboring wells and wetlands.
Olley stated that the fill will not affect drainage or the neighboring wells by “any measurable amount.”
Dewitt Sharp, a neighbor of the project asked that a groundwater study be done and provided the board with a petition signed by neighbors of the project. He also stated that he believed the DEC needed to review it because of the wetlands.
The neighbors of the project had previously raised questions about a pipe installed on the Melick property. They advised the Planning Board that since then the pipe has been cut and buried so that a test on it cannot be performed. They also argued that when the existing house was constructed, the entire property was filled, affecting drainage.
Olley argued against the accusations, stating the applicant did not fill the property, only laid topsoil. Neighbors accused him of lying.
Planning Board Chairman Fred Reichle reminded the neighbors that the plan is before the Health Department. They will be examining the plan and the curtain drain around the existing septic in connection with the high groundwater and drainage issues in the area.
The public hearing was set to continue on July 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Two possible new projects presented their plans to the board including a proposed 4-lot subdivision referred to as “Marcinak” on South and West Kaisertown roads. The applicant is looking to put in three new homes and keep the existing home. The board briefly discussed a possible rearrangement of the plan due to road frontage requirements and other concerns and directed the applicant to return with a reworked plan.
Engineer Ross Winglovitz also made an informal presentation regarding a possible 11-lot subdivision in the area of South and West Searsville Roads to see what type of plan would be preferred by the Planning Board and the neighbors of the property.
Their original plan was to do a traditional subdivision, but the Planning Board asked that they try to cluster the proposed single family homes and preserve some open space.
Two versions of the clustered plan were shown to the public, one which had the 11 homes down the center of the property with a U-shape of open space around it, and another which grouped 10 of the homes into a cul-de-sac in the top portion of the property and one home in the lower portion, preserving a large rectangular area bordered by other preserved open spaces.
Both the board and the public seemed to favor the option with the cul-de-sac, although the Planning Board asked that the single home floating in the lower portion be pulled closer to the other homes.
By Rachel Coleman