The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Douglass (Mont.) resident seeks assistance from township


By Rebecca Blanchard, rblanchard@berksmontnews.com

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Douglass Township resident is reaching out to the supervisors for help.
During Mike Heydt’s Highway and Zoning Report at the Aug. 19 Douglass Township Board of Supervisors meeting, a complaint by township resident Denise Thomas was brought to the attention of the supervisors.
The complaint involves Suburban Water Company and its recent effect on the Thomas property located on Aspen Lane directly behind the water company.
According to Thomas, her and her husband have been residents at that location since 2005 and have never had a problem with their commercial neighbor until recently.
In July, according to Thomas, Suburban Water Company re-landscaped their parking lot and also installed two six-inch storm drains which drain out onto the Thomas property. Since then, that area has experienced unusual amounts of standing water and flood-like conditions. Thomas also noted the growth of algae and an increased presence of mosquitoes, bugs and frogs.
Suburban Water Company did install a swale with rocks and hay in July in order to control the water.
Upon reaching out to the water company, Thomas was told that her drain pipes were clogged and as a result there is standing water. According to Thomas, the company was willing to install trees at half of the cost to ‘suck up’ the water. However, she was not interested due to doubt that trees would not solve the issue.
“We want it fixed the right way,” said Thomas during an interview on her property.
On July 23, Thomas paid Roto Rooter $355 to clear the drain pipes located on her property. Roto Rooter determined that the excessive water in the drainage area on the Thomas property was due to the recent landscaping of the commercial property in the rear.
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” said MichaelEddinger, business manager for Suburban Water Company. He continued to state that the company did not expand their property. “Before we did any work, we explained to the neighbors what was going to happen.”
A complaint was filed by Thomas to the township on Sunday, Aug. 4; she had reached out previously as well.
The complaint was referred to the township’s zoning department. Upon inspection of the property on July 17 and Aug. 5, the zoning department determined the matter to be a private matter between two property owners. The township set up a meeting to mediate the issue, but there was no solution found during that time.
Thomas has reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection and is seeking out other organizations that could help.
Following Heydt’s presentation of the complaint at the Aug. 19 meeting, Thomas spoke about her concerns and presented video footage taken on July 28.
Chairman John Stasik, questioned the changes that resulted from the re-landscaping such size and slope. “I’m looking at areas that there were changes made. If there were no changes made to the surface, it’s not the township’s problem; issues are getting out of context.”
The Thomas’ asked the supervisors to watch the video of the water before a decision is made.
“Let’s set a meeting up and talk about it. There’s no indication that present ordinances have been violated,” said Stasik.
The supervisors are in the process of determining whether or not it is a township issue.
“They say they want to have a private meeting. I don’t understand why it has to be private,” said Thomas after the meeting. “In the meantime, our yard is getting ruined.”