Ligonier Township Municipal Authority seeks solution to drainage problem
The Ligonier Township Municipal Authority has authorized seeking the acquisition of property in an area near County Road 157 to install a catch-basin drainage system, unless the property owner accepts a right-of-way agreement.
In August, a few residents of the road voiced concerns about the drainage issues caused by sewer lines that were installed in May. At the Sept. 4 meeting, resident Deborah Lee described how water that previously drained into a field has been accumulating on the road, causing a mosquito problem and unsafe driving conditions.
“After the sewer lines were put in, the contour of the land was changed, and now there is water sitting in the road,” Lee said. “This has been going on since June. The road is becoming increasingly impassable.”
Solicitor Donald Snyder said consulting engineers Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc. have suggested installing a catch basin drainage system to convey the water to a neighboring stream. He said the catch basin would go through Ina Seibert's property, whose family owns a cottage on the road. He said a consulting engineer will ask Seibert, on behalf of the board, to execute a right-of-way agreement so that the system can be put into place. If Seibert declines, Snyder will file a declaration of taking, on behalf of the board, under board's right of eminent domain.
Seibert does not agree with the suggested solution because she thinks a better solution would be replacing topsoil that was removed during the sewer line installation. She said with eminent domain, there is not much she or her family can do, but she wants to see all of the plans for the proposed drainage system so she can review it and have her questions about it addressed.
When asked by residents why the ground cannot be restored to the way it was before the sewage work, Snyder said “engineering-wise that is not a solution to the problem” and that consulting engineers believe the catch basin is the best solution.
Board member Glen Kalp said the board will talk to Seibert before pursuing eminent domain.
“We're working on it,” Kalp said. “We are going to get it solved. If we have to do eminent domain, that's what we're going to do.”
Board member John Beaufort said he would hate to have to go through eminent domain, and the board would like to talk to the property owner.
In other news, the board approved sewer system tap-in extensions for The Progress Fund, residents Terry Armstrong and Barry Miedel, Rolling Rock Club, resident Addie Chicola and resident Rita Kozel. It also accepted requisitions for the Darlington sewer project for $141,497.85 to do restoration work on properties damaged by flooding and for the Laughlintown and Ligonier East sewer project for $132,944.44 to close out a PennVEST project.
In addition, the board approved a motion to continue the municipal authority for 50 years. It will next meet on Oct. 2.
Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.