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Hempfield looks to repair drainage system faults

| Friday, May 11, 2012, 1:47 a.m.

Some Hempfield Township residents who claim faulty drainage systems cause flooding on their properties may get some relief next year.

Supervisors on Monday directed engineer Dan Schmitt, of Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co., to draft plans and prepare cost estimates for repair work. The work is to be done in five areas where homeowners say flooding occurs when it rains: Lampshandy, Mt. Thor and Zappone roads, and Hopi and Caddy drives.

Supervisors want the plans and cost estimates completed in time to include the projects in next year's budget.

Residents in some of the affected areas have complained of flooding problems for years, including one Tippecanoe Drive homeowner who said he has been unable to sell his house as a result and faces foreclosure. Another, Bob Cammarata, said he's waited patiently for help, but he is now poised to go to court if the township does not remedy the flooding.

"Tonight I'll be bailing out the basement," Cammarata told supervisors as a light rain fell last night. "I can't tell you how much irreversible damage has been done."

Tippecanoe Drive is located in Fort Allen, near Hopi Drive.

Supervisors authorized Schmitt to proceed after visiting each site and determining the township is likely responsible.

In an unrelated matter, Solicitor Les Mlakar said a recent change in case law affected a tie vote cast last month by supervisors.

The board had deadlocked 2-2 on a developer's request to build a car wash along Route 119, near Union Cemetery Road and the Dairy Queen across from Lynch Field.

In the past, a tie vote resulted in an approval if the board took no other action within 90 days. Mlakar said recent case law has changed that, with tie votes now resulting in denials.

The developer has since taken legal action against the township in an effort to gain approval for the car wash.

Some residents who don't want the car wash say it poses a safety hazard because the road already is congested. They say it is the site of frequent traffic accidents.

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