January 17, 2006
Water Commissioners present: Bob Sird, Larry Pomainville, and Chris Hanrahan
Also present: Mike Balch, Helen McKinlay, Robin Rowe, David Rowe, Bruce Rowe, William Rowe, Karen Lawton, and Bob Christian.
Minutes of November 15, 2005 and November 22, 2006 were reviewed, discussed and approved. The Water Board did not meet on December 20, 2005 as they did not have a quorum.
The orders for the water board expenses as prepared for the January 18, 2006 Select Board meeting were reviewed, discussed and approved.
Rowe Project – Additional information
R. Rowe stated she would like to talk about the water problem on Route 7 South. She stated this water problem has been going on since 1988. R. Rowe had a copy of an order dated November 17, 1998 identifying there were to be no more water attachments on Route 7 South while the issue was being researched and resolved. Dufresne-Henry conducted a water study of the area for the Town. R. Rowe stated that when she asked Mr. Balch the outcome of the study and subsequent meeting regarding Route 7 South she was told at one point the plan was to place tanks under the apartments had been approved. R. Rowe stated that when she met with M. Balch at a later date he had told her the State didn’t identify who was responsible to put the tanks in and pay for the costs associated with the tanks so the paperwork had been filed. R. Rowe stated she felt they had really been misled. R. Rowe noted she has since learned there was a new water hook up in May 2004 at Mitchell’s T’s on Route 7 South. The Water Board noted the Mitchell’s water hook up was in an area with 3” pipe not the problem area with the 1” pipe. R. Rowe stated she had recently pulled documentation in which the State identified the low volume water problem on Route 7 South as not being the responsibility of the Rowe’s but the full responsibility of the Town.
Recently while trying to get approval for a subdivision of the property owned by Richard Rowe they had been told they needed to put a water tank in the ground and be bonded for the project with the Town. The Rowe’s were agreeable to this plan until recently finding out this is the Town’s problem. R. Rowe stated M. Balch told her that her father-in-law had illegally hooked up the apartments to the water source. R. Rowe asked why they were being misled all of this time when the State had issued in the Town’s Temporary Operating License the Town needs to resolve this issue in 2 ½ years with a deadline of December 1, 2006. R. Rowe stated Mr. Balch informed them at their last meeting this was never going to occur. R. Rowe had asked the State to attend the meeting this evening but they were unable to be here. R. Rowe was told by the State the low volume on Route 7 South still needs to be completed by December 1, 2006 as part of an enforceable permit and they felt the Town had ample time to take care of this issue. R. Rowe stated the Town needs to take care of this and not at the Rowe’s expense. She stated they felt the situation had been dealt with in an underhanded way and they had been misled. The Water Board stated they never thought resolving the issue on the Rowe property was their responsibility. There is no question a new 8” water line is planned for Route 7 South as part of the required upgrade during the Route 7 road project. A bond vote will be required for the water line replacement. It would be foolish to consider replacement before that date not knowing the exact locations for the road at this time. It is very unlikely the entire Town would vote to approve a bond in advance of the Route 7 road project for just that section with a chance it would be damaged or torn up again during the project. Replacement of the water line was never included as part of the Rowe’s Act 250 permits. David Rowe had asked for a sub division during which time the State changed the law which involves water and sewer. With this change the Rowe’s property didn’t have the required water volume and pressure at peak use for the State approval for a sub-division permit. A change in use has occurred with the property going from a motel to 8 apartments and a house requiring increased water usage. C. Hanrahan questioned the plumbing code regulations to think 8 motel units and a house could be run off a single ¾ inch line. C. Hanrahan stated this would never be allowed in any plumbing book. D. Rowe stated things were done differently in the 1950 plumbing codes. C. Hanrahan noted he had researched the 1950 plumbing codes and this was not an accepted method of installation even at that time. C. Hanrahan stated whoever made that connection determined they could get enough water on a ¾ “ line for 8 rental units and a 3 bedroom house and this is physically impossible. D. Rowe stated he had been told the Pittsford Aqueduct had been asked by Royce Freeman to bring a 2 inch line down Route 7 to his property. Royce Freeman’s property was too high and told this wouldn’t work.
Bob Christian stated the property owners north by his and Karen Lawton’s property are being told to install wells that cost thousands of dollars because of the water line low volume problem. From Jewett’s fire hydrant south the water line is only a 1” line. The line was installed by the Pittsford Aqueduct as a private enterprise. The Town later bought the Pittsford Aqueduct as is. The problem is further worsened by the ¾ “line run to the units. As more houses and apartments were added onto the line over the years it has made a bad situation worse. The Water Board restated the replacement of the 1” water line will require a bond vote by the entire Town. To do this type of repair at this time would be a disservice to the rest of the rate payers to put in a new line now and rip it up when the Route 7 project is done. Waiting for the Route 7 upgrade makes economical sense. The date for the Route 7 project has been a moving target for years D. Rowe stated. B. Christian stated he wants to increase the investment on his land but to do that he must drill a well due to the limited water available. B. Christian asked if the Town would give him a rebate for drilling a well as they are not able to furnish adequate water. B. Christian stated no one seems to care about the situation on Route 7 South and all the Town wants is tax dollars. M. Balch stated he had a couple points he’d like to make and told the meeting Congress has earmarked $15 million for the Route 7 project. This insures the road project is a funded project. The Act 250 permits are in place for Sections 3 and 5 of the road project to be done in 2007 and 2008. And sections 1 and 4 are scheduled next. B. Christian asked if someone wanted to privately pay to increase the pipe size near their properties would this be permitted by the Town. M. Balch stated the Town does not own the right away along Route 7 this belongs to the State. The State may be purchasing additional right of ways at the time of their Act 250 permit. The Town would need to have permission from the State to do any work in the right of way area. The right of way and final lay out work probably will not be completed for 2 years on sections 1 and 4. Until this is completed we don’t know where things are being laid out for the road project. The Town will have to go for bonding for this water line and several other water lines in Town requiring increased size.
M. Balch reminded the Rowe’s he had written a letter to them on January 3, 2005 at the time the Rowe’s were asking for the Act 250 Sewer analysis to try to work out a joint deal between them and the Water Board. He planned to talk with the Board to work out a joint deal a year ago to resolve this long standing problem. M. Balch stated he hadn’t heard back from the Rowe’s until late 2005.
R. Rowe asked what would happen if they experienced a water contamination issue caused by the low water pressure. The Water Board stated that the pressure had never been below 30 in any of the studies they had conducted. R. Rowe stated that she had a reading of 17. If contamination were to occur the chlorine would be increased and additional testing would be done to monitor the situation.
B. Christian asked if the line can really wait another five years for the upgrade. The Water Board restated the Town will need to approve a bond for the project they propose. The work done at Four Seasons this summer was questioned as to why that was completed prior to Route 7 South. The Water Board had no choice because the water needed to be chlorinated.
B. Christian stated he’d like to be able to make more money on the development of his property but is limited by the 1” water line. He did note that he understands the repair project won’t be a simple repair and a bond for just that section of repair would never pass the required bond vote. The Town is responsible for the water line to the curb stop. The Water Board noted another option would be to shut off the water.
D. Rowe stated they had permits issued by the Town. M. Balch noted the permits had been issued by the Town but not the Water Board. There is no record of the Pittsford Aqueduct issuing a permit for the motel and house onto the water system. D. Rowe stated the motels had been switched to apartment units at the time the Town took over the water system. C. Hanrahan restated the engineering doesn’t work to hook up 8 apartments and a 3 bedroom house to a ¾ “ line.
M. Balch noted this problem involves everyone here and suggested we sit down to work out a solution. We both have our own points of view but time to put this behind us and find a way to fix the issue in the meantime. B. Christian suggested bring in a backhoe and installing there own 3” line. The Water Board stated ANR would not approve of this and we don’t have the State right of ways. Those present decided to set up another discussion of what would make sense and work to confirm what needs to be done to the infrastructure and how it can be worked into the state highway plans. CLD Engineering is taking all of the dimensions for what we need and this information is due by the end of June. A proposal will then be taken under consideration to have the State get involved because of health and safety. Recommendations from the residents of Route 7 South will be taken under advisement. B. Christian, K. Lawton, and the Rowe have departed at 7:10 p.m.
A motion was made by B. Sird, seconded by C. Hanrahan, to enter Executive Session for the purposes of discussing pending Legal issues at 7:10 p.m. In accordance with 1VSA 312(b) where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to go into Executive Session for pending Legal issues. M. Balch and H. McKinlay were invited to stay. All others were excused. The Board came out of Executive Session at 7:30 p.m. The Water Board requested M. Balch request an extension to the Temporary Operating Permit deadline on Route 7 South until such time as the Route 7 project is completed.
With no further business the meeting adjourned at 7:32.