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Chester County Press

East Nottingham Township supervisors authorize feasibility study

08/20/2013 05:15PM ● By ACL

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

The East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors approved a feasibility study to look at possible options to address the long-running issues in the Wyndham Creek community at the Aug. 13 meeting.

Homeowners in the Wyndham Creek community have suffered numerous problems with the experimental wastewater treatment systems installed on their lots since the first home was constructed and sold about seven years ago. There are now more than two dozen homes in the community, and most of the homeowners are having problems with their septic systems.

“It’s the next step that needs to be taken to find an end to this situation,” John Coldiron, the chairman of the board of supervisors, said of the feasibility study.

The action did not please Bill Carey, one of the residents of the Wyndham Creek development who has been hoping for the township’s assistance with getting a satisfactory solution to the problem.

Prefacing his comments by noting that residents are now represented by lawyers and are pursuing a legal remedy to the situation, Carey said, “to spend money {on a feasibility study} right now is going to be a waste. Doing this now, it’s a little too late.”

During the approval process for Wyndham Creek, which started its life as the Hopewell Ridge development, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) mandated and gave the green light for the installation of experimental on-lot wastewater treatment systems for a majority of homes in the neighborhood. These systems were necessary because of the elevated levels of nitrates in the groundwater.

Ever since the previous East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors and the DEP approved those systems, homeowners have experienced a continuous series of problems, including raw sewage backing up from the system into their homes, creating significant health risks. In one instance, the system was serviced by the contractor to release raw sewage into the homeowner’s backyard. The anticipated reduction in nitrates from the effluent has not been realized either.

The backup plan in the event that the on-lot systems failed was to have the homes tie in to public water and sewer. At the time the DEP approved the public sewer as a backup plan, the Oxford area was under a moratorium for any new connections to the public sewer system, and this option remains unlikely today because of the high cost of extending public sewers to the neighborhood. The homeowners remain without working septic systems and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to sell their homes in the future, which is why they are considering legal action.

The supervisors approved the feasibility study by a 3-1 margin, with supervisor Gene Turns objecting because he thought the developer, Wilmer Hostetter, should be responsible for paying for the feasibility study.

Supervisor Jane Ladley said that the feasibility study could be completed by the end of December.

The board of supervisors discussed a long list of items during the combined work session and regular meeting. At its conclusion, Turns raised a question that was likely on the mind of more than a few of the residents in the audience.

“Why are you carrying a gun?” Turns asked Coldiron.

“Because it’s my right,” Coldiron replied.

Coldiron’s insistence on openly bringing the gun to township meetings is troubling to some residents, especially those who have been at odds with the supervisor.

East Nottingham Township resident Rick Orner said that he is troubled by Coldiron’s decision to openly carry a gun to township meetings.

“I am a 100 percent supporter of the Second Amendment, but when does common sense come into play?”  Orner asked.

What would happen, Orner wondered, if residents exercised their Second Amendment rights and brought their own guns to the next meeting?

“How would the board like to look across the table and see the residents with shotguns and rifles?” He asked.