Major Changes Announced for Proposed Somers Sewer District

Somers Linda Luciano addressed the Town Board at last week’s meeting.

Two major changes in the controversial proposal to create Special Sewer District #2 for residents of the Lake Lincolndale and Lake Shenorock sections of Somers were announced at the March 5 Town Board meeting.

After comments from residents during previous meetings conducted earlier this year, the engineering firm Woodard & Curran submitted a Revised Map, Plan and Report town, which is posted on the town’s website.

The plan is to provide sewers to 989 homes in the R-10 residential zoning district. The original plan was to complete the project in three phases.

The first phase, which would have included 65 properties in Shenorock and Lincolndale, would have cost between $10 and $13 million. The second phase, which would have included parcels in Shenorock, would have cost between $28.1 and $30.1 million. The third phase, which would have included properties in Lincolndale, would have cost between $21.1 and $22.1 million.

The cost for the average home in the new district was originally thought to be $1,200, on average, annually at full buildout with the fee varied by assessment of each property in the new sewer district.

But at last week’s meeting, representatives from Woodard & Curran said the revised plan now calls for significant changes.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $62 million, with $36 coming from grants and other outside funding, including the $10 million from the DEP, Steven Robbins, project manager for the engineering firm Woodard & Curran, told the Town Board.

The new plan is to have two phases for installing the sewers, Robbins said. The first phases would provide sewers for 103 homes and the construction would be paid through the DEP grant. The remainder of the homes in the proposed district would get sewers in the final phase.

For those who receive sewers in the first phase they would be charged $591 annually, Robbins said. After all homes receive sewers, all residents of the district would pay $1,187 annually. Unlike the original proposal, all property owners in the proposed district would pay the same annual fee.

“That’s a major change,” Supervisor Rick Morrissey said.

Another significant change from the original plan was an agreement from Westchester County that would allow residents of the proposed district to not pay buy-in fees to the county until after they are hooked up to sewers.

The Town Board voted unanimously last week to acknowledge the receipt of the Map, Plan and Report; declare its intent to be lead agency in the environmental review of the project and schedule a public hearing on the project for April 2 at 7 p.m.

Morrissey announced a public forum on the project would be held on March 25 in Shenorock. The Town Board did not set a date for the referendum vote at last week’s meeting.

There was criticism of the sewer district before the Wood & Curran presentation from residents during the public comment period of the meeting. Linda Luciano said the town should seek less costly alternatives to the sewer district plan. She maintained the town should follow the lead of Nassau County, which recently entered into a plan with New York State for new sewage treatment plants, rather than sewers, to remove such harmful elements from water as forms of bacteria.

Another resident, Jerry Colello, said he had several concerns about the proposal, including potential damage to the land in area of the proposed sewer district. There would be “no easy way to tie in” sewer lines, he said.

If residents okay the new district via a referendum, the Town Board would need approval from the Westchester County Board of Legislators to expand the county sewer treatment plant in Peekskill and the proposed sewer district plan would also need to be okayed by the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

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