The Kent Town Board unanimously voted in favor of creating a sewer district along the Route 52 commercial corridor at its board meeting on Jan. 29. The vote comes after a contentious public hearing held in December, where residents of the private Hill and Dale community claimed the waste water treatment plant that would need to be built would pollute Palmer Lake.
Upon giving their vote each town board member addressed the issue.
Councilman John Greene said that although he has concerns about the discharge plan and is waiting on an answer he wrote to the New York Department of Conservation, he was voting in favor of the project because of the amount of money that has already been spent on it and the ramifications the town could incur if it chose not to move forward with the project. The town has already spent $600,000 toward the project.
The sewer district would extend from Lincoln Drive near Gray Oak Terrace, past La Russell’s Cleaners until Anthony’s Jewelers along Route 52. It would encompass 42 developed and 22 vacant properties to boost commercial infrastructure along the road.
The DEC has identified the project as a “water quality project.”
The project would be fully-funded by Putnam County and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection. The district would absorb operational and maintenance costs with some assistance provided by the DEP.
In addition to the improvement of water quality, the sewage district is meant to promote and revitalize business on an otherwise baron commercial corridor, apartment complexes and residential homes will also hook up to the sewer system with the caveat they abandon their own personal septic system.
“Forming the Kent sewer district is possibly the most responsible plan and project that has come before the town of Kent in the 40 years that I have lived here,” said Councilwoman Penny Osborn. “It serves not only the here and now but definitely our future generations.”
There will a one-time hookup fee of $1,800, with district costs running between $900 and $1,110 per year.
The project will commence in spring 2013, with phases one and two completed from August to December 2013—if need be, phases 3, which would include Lake Carmel’s community arts center would be completed by spring 2014, with all units hooked up and the plant operational.
The plant, which is planned to be built on Nichols Street, will be owned and operated by Kent Manor Corp. Kent Manor won the right to build the plant in a court case against the town in 2005.
“I live on Nichols Street, where the plant will be built,” said Councilman Michael Tierney. “That decision was taken out of my hands by [Supreme Court] Justice [Andrew] O’Rourke. I am directly impacted by this and I am voting yes.”
The discharge plans that the residents of Hill and Dale were concerned about will be determined by Kent Manor Corp. with the DEC and DEP being the overseeing agencies. The Kent Town Board will not be involved with those decisions.
However Town Supervisor Kathy Doherty said, “The study shows that the project would in fact improve the water quality of Palmer Lake.”
Palmer Lake is currently on the impaired waterway list NYSDEC 303-D1.