CLEARFIELD – Because stringent penalties are being added to Lawrence Township’s sewer ordinance, Rick Mattern announced his resignation as chairman and member of the Lawrence Township Planning Commission prior to the adjournment of Tuesday night’s meeting.
“Recently, the township ordered its solicitor to pass an ordinance to penalize homeowners who are putting storm water into the sewage system,” Mattern said. “The fines are ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.
“I understand its dilemma and being harassed by [the state’s Department of Environmental Protection]. However, I disagree that it only affects ‘a few homeowners,’ as [Supervisor Glenn] Johnston stated. He [Johnston] also stated that it would be a minimal cost to remove a few downspouts.”
Mattern explained that since the 1950s, many homes in Country Club Hills, Long Meadow and Goldenrod were constructed with French drains and sump pumps on old farmland. He said it will cost more than a “few bucks” for these homeowners to comply with the sewer ordinance. He also said that these homeowners are the highest taxpayers in the township.
Mattern personally lives on old farmland that’s located in Long Meadow. He utilizes drains and a pump. Without a pump, he said he’d have 5 feet of water in his basement following a heavy rain.
“I’ve got an estimate now of $800 to $1,000 to fix that,” Mattern said. “I’m not just speaking for myself here. I’m speaking for all Lawrence Township homeowners who will bear the cost to comply with this ordinance and who don’t have a platform to speak for themselves.”
Mattern said that Supervisor Ed Brown has stated fines must be stiff so that people comply with the sewer ordinance. He said he simply cannot work for Johnston and Brown, claiming they don’t have their facts straight.
“I reluctantly do this,” said Mattern, “but I have to speak my piece. I’m sorry.”
In other business, the planning commission reviewed subdivision and land development plans Tuesday night before putting them on hold until its next meeting on Sept. 11.
A two-lot subdivision on Larson Road is being reviewed by the planning commission. Lot 2 is 14.3 acres and has a residence on the property; it is a three-bedroom, single-story residence without a basement, said engineer Ernie Carns. The proprietor David Larko would like to sell this lot; however, he wants to keep Lot 1 (15.63 acres) for hunting purposes.
Carns was advised an engineer’s statement needs included on the front of the subdivision plans with the rest of the signatures. Additionally, he was advised it requires a statement that indicates a 90-day period for being recorded.
Carns must obtain the non-building waivers on Lot 1, because there’s neither sewage nor water on the property. Code Enforcement Officer Agatha Lauder-English said the zoning must be shown on the map as well.
Greystone Court Villas LLC had its land development plans for a lot on Leonard Street tabled until next month. The planning commission is waiting for the bearings for the height and utility letters, granting the permission for them to be hooked up. Penn Terra Engineers didn’t have a representative at the meeting.