Hillcrest Road resident Tom Allen has been hoping to make his house a little bigger for some time, but there's a problem he keeps running into.
Allen and his neighbors have failing septic systems, which he said is causing water to rise to the ground surface. His own property can't pass the required rests for a new septic system, and he told members of the Township Committee at the Aug. 15 meeting that even the Board of Health couldn't offer any ideas on what to do about the problems he and his neighbors face.
"The point is I can't sell and I can't add on," he said about his dilemna.
In fact, he said, he can't improve his home—unless the township will help with a sewer extension project the neighborhood can connect to.
Allen and about six other Hillcrest Road and Mountain Avenue residents spoke out at the meeting seeking township help to complete a project the residents have been dreaming of for nearly 20 years.
Ronald Berry, longtime president of the Hillcrest Road LLC, which was formed to bring sewers to the neighborhood, said the residents have obtained the necessary approvals for a project to install sewer service—but have run into walls when it comes to financing the project.
They had hoped to finance the project directly through a state program financing such work, but the inclusion of the Camp Riverbend property—the only non-residential or non-profit site in the area—precluded the state aid.
Berry said a petition to ask for a special assessment by the township to finance the work has been signed by all of the residents, except for an absentee owner of an undeveloped lot, a bank-owned property and an elderly couple on a fixed income.
Using special assessments would enable the township to install the main sewer line, with residents along the line assessed for a percentage of the cost, financed over 20 years. Residents would also have to pay for the connections to their properties.
"This has just gone on too long—we really need your help," Hillcrest Road resident Pat Ryan said. "It's a very simple project; it's straightforward engineering."
The committee members did not comment on the residents' requests.