288 houses includedin township sewer plan

The units would be part of Pennington Point West, some of which already has been built by local developer Peter Blicher

By: John Tredrea
   The Hopewell Township sewer service proposal currently being considered by Pennington Borough officials includes service for 288 new townhouse units just northwest of the borough.
   The units would be part of Pennington Point West, some of which already has been built, in the form of two small office buildings, by local developer Peter Blicher.
   Forty-three of the new residences that would get sewer service would be affordable housing units and thus help the township satisfy its COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) obligation, set by the state, to provide housing for low- and moderate-income residents, township Deputy Mayor Robert Higgins said Tuesday.
   The 245 remaining units at Pennington Point West would be market-priced units. Mr. Higgins chairs the township’s Affordable Housing Committee.
   At the May 6 Pennington Borough Council meeting, Township Engineer Paul Pogorzelski and Township Administrator Christine Smeltzer asked council to consider the possibility of allowing use of existing borough sewer lines to convey wastewater from a group of existing township neighborhoods surrounding the borough, plus the new units at Pennington Point West, to the Pennington sewage treatment plant of the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority (SBRSA).
   Mr. Pogorzelski said the cost of hooking the neighborhoods and Pennington Point West into the treatment plant could be reduced substantially if the wastewater could be sent through existing sewer lines in the borough instead of through yet-to-be-built lines circumnavigating the borough.
   Deputy Mayor Higgins said Tuesday that, under the current form of the township proposal as drawn up by Mr. Pogorzelski, 237,000 gallons of daily sewage treatment capacity would serve the existing neighborhoods and the new construction at Pennington Point West.
   At 83,375 gallons of daily sewage treatment capacity, Pennington Point West would get about one-third of the total 237,000 gallons. Pennington Point West is located off the western side of Route 31 at its intersection with North Main Street.
   The existing neighborhoods that would be hooked into the SBRSA are Morningside, Timberlane, Penn View Heights, Ingleside and the Tree Streets. Mr. Pogorzelski and other township officials have said the history of septic problems in these neighborhoods is sufficiently serious to warrant the investigation of the possibility of bringing in sewers.
   The neighborhoods include several hundred homes, none of which have sewers now. Mr. Pogorzelski’s current cost estimate for hooking each home into the SBRSA is $28,420 per house, plus annual operating costs of an estimated $1,027. The estimates are based on construction of new sewer lines circumnavigating the borough.
   At the May 6 Borough Council meeting, Ms. Smeltzer said the township’s current thinking is that connection costs would be paid for by homeowners via a special assessment, rather than from the townshipwide tax base.
   The neighborhoods surrounding the borough are comprised mainly of houses on closely-spaced small lots. In addition to density of development, a seasonal high water table and poor soil percolation in the neighborhoods are factors contributing to the history of septic problems there, officials have said.
   A major expansion of the SBRSA’s treatment plant would be needed for the plant to handle the 237,000 gallons of daily additional sewage treatment capacity the plant would get from the neighborhoods and Pennington Point West. The plant’s current capacity, almost all of which is being used, is 300,000 gallons of daily sewage treatment capacity. The expansion would take five to seven years to complete, officials have said.
   Deputy Mayor Higgins said the SBRSA has given Hopewell Township a deadline — the end of this month — to make a formal request for the sewage treatment capacity that could serve the neighborhoods and the 288 new housing units that would be built just northwest of the borough.