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Saxonburg Village residents want action on storm water runoff

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Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:16 a.m.
 

A group of residents who live in the Saxonburg Village condominiums off South Butler Street want swift action from the borough to resolve storm water runoff issues that have plagued them for years.

It's a sensitive area because of a small wetlands nearby. However, water runoff is settling in the bowl-shaped area at the end of South Butler Street because, residents say, drainage pipes and culverts are packed with sediment and other debris.

The excess water has caused the original 50-foot wetland to expand by 10 or 20 feet, Mitch Lutynsky told council members Wednesday. One resident now has cattails growing under a deck, he said.

The most affected are about six homes in Saxonburg Village 3.

“It's a pond down there,” Lutynsky said. “It's not a wetland. That water won't drain out of there, that's why it expanded.

“We demand immediate action,” he said.

Council members and the new borough superintendent, Chuck McGee, said it will take time to research past construction activities in the Saxonburg Village area and have an engineer assess storm water facilities and runoff from West Main Street and Pittsburgh Street.

“We have to determine legally what can we do. The (state Department of Environmental Protection) needs to be involved due to the wetlands and then there is the issue of where we will get the money to do it,” Borough Manager Mary Papik said.

Condo residents complained about the same issue three years ago and met with borough officials, a representative from the DEP and the Butler County Conservation Agency, but no action was taken.

“What we feel is like we're the forgotten people,” Karen Kennedy said. “We're sitting there with this problem and nobody cares.”

This year, the problem was compounded by heavy rain on several days in June. Additionally, the catch basin near the State Farm office at Pittsburgh and West Main streets isn't large enough to handle the runoff from the street, Papik said.

As a result, the water cascades through the office parking lot and down to the condos, she said.

The borough will look into enlarging the catch basin or installing another one, Papik said. It's unclear whether the repairs would be the borough's responsibility or PennDOT's, she said.

Borough officials are also seeing what can be done in another area of concern: Short Street behind the Saxonburg Agway on Butler Street.

Water running from the Agway parking lot is ending up in people's yards several houses away from the store. It's unclear whether residents are responsible for cleaning the drains and pipes near their homes or if it's an issue with a culvert and drain in a field opposite from the Short Street homes.

New council member appointed

A local business owner was appointed to fill a vacant seat on council.

Sherry Weinzierl, 46, will fill the remaining three years of Don Crawford's term.

Crawford resigned because work commitments made him unable to dedicate the time necessary for serving on council.

Weinzierl has lived in Saxonburg for about seven years and owns The Smoke Shoppe on Pittsburgh Street in the borough.

“I want to see the town improve and there's no way to do that unless you get involved,” she said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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