A potential west Groveport Road sanitary sewer project resurfaced, but Groveport Village Council is taking a wait and see approach about it.
The proposed, 2,100 foot, approximately $840,000 sanitary sewer line would include properties along Groveport Road extending west from Greenpointe Drive to the First Baptist Church of Groveport property and would serve an area encompassing 240 acres.
Council initially rejected the plan by a split vote in December 2006 as some council members felt the direct assessments to fund the project would be a burden on the affected property owners. However, supporters of the project and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), have brought the project back to the attention of Groveport officials.
In letters dated Aug. 13 to Bright Innovations and St. Mary’s Catholic Church, two properties in the proposed project area, the OEPA ordered these entities to extend the village’s sanitary sewer line from Greenpointe Drive and connect it to their properties due to the "inadequacy of the treatment system" serving the properties. The letter also stated that, "should the village of Groveport decide to construct the sewer line extension itself…these orders simply require you to connect into the line when it becomes available." The property owners have until Sept. 12 to appeal the OEPA order.
Groveport Village Law Director Kevin Shannon told council at its Aug. 18 committee of the whole meeting that the OEPA is concerned about the pumping stations, holding tanks, and the "hodge podge" of sanitary sewer treatment systems in the west Groveport Road area.
Mayor Lance Westcamp added that the director of the OEPA told him that he was "surprised it (the sewer project) wasn’t started."
Interim Village Administrator Ken Salak provided estimates for direct assessments to affected property owners that would fund the sewer project. Two sets of estimates based on acreage and frontage for the 16 properties were tabulated.
"These estimates are based on a bond rate of 4.75 percent," said Salak. "That’s not certain because we don’t know what the bond rate would be at the time if we went forward with this."
The 20 year, estimated total assessments for the 16 properties for the proposed project range from $4,516 to $369,952 based on acreage; and from $13,395 to $155,892 based on frontage. Estimated annual payments range from $350 to $28,689 based on acreage; and from $1,039 to $12,089 based on frontage.
Shannon said direct assessments are used to pay for a project when a municipality determines there is a need to extend a utility and the affected property owners have not voluntarily petitioned the government to do so. Approval of the resolution of necessity would require five of six council votes for approval if the proposed project is not requested by petition by a majority of the affected property owners.
Marc Studley of Access Storage, along with the First Baptist Church of Groveport, have been long supporters of the sewer project citing that it would lead to positive development of the west Groveport Road area.
"Our hands are tied to develop anything without it (the sewer line)," said Studley.
Greg Cooper of the First Baptist Church of Groveport said if the sewer project does not happen the church could go with a pumping station, but would prefer not to.
"We’re on a failing system," said Cooper. "We’re in need of it (the sewer line)."
Diana Ward Bright of Bright Innovations feels she is not getting enough information.
"What is this going to cost me? …What are the tap fees? … Who would I pay the tap fees to? … Will my wells have to be abandoned? … I’m fighting for my livelihood here," said Ward Bright.
Steve Mayes, speaking for a relative who is a west Groveport Road property owner, said, "Every property (along west Groveport Road) does not have a problem. You’re forcing this on people who don’t need it."
"If we do this, are we prepared to also go to the north and other directions? How are we going to prioritize this?" questioned Councilman Ed Rarey.
Councilman Ed Dildine stated council did not have to rush into anything, noting St. Mary’s church and Ward Bright have 30 days to appeal to the OEPA.
"We’ve brought this (sewer project) up before and it didn’t go through," said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert. "The affected property owners must decide what they want to do and then come to us and say, ‘This is what we want.’"
Village officials plan to send out information to property owners in the affected area regarding potential assessments and to answer questions raised about the potential sewer project. The village will also wait until September to see the results of any appeal St. Mary’s and Ward Bright make to the OEPA before proceeding with further discussions.