SOMERS, N.Y. - Homeowners will have another chance to voice their opinions on a sewer district being proposed for Lake Lincolndale and Lake Shenorock at a virtual public hearing the Town Board will hold during its regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
The town sent out a Code Red notifying residents of the lake communities that they can participate remotely. For information on how to access virtual meetings, visit the town’s website, somersny.com.
Last month, the board opened the public hearing on the $62 million project at Reis Park. Because capacity was limited to 50 participants, latecomers had to retreat to the town library’s common room to watch the broadcasted proceedings.
At the time, town officials indicated they were looking for indoor venues big enough to safely accommodate a larger crowd. They also were waiting to hear whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo was going to extend his mandate on conducting municipal Zoom meetings.
At the Thursday, Aug. 20, meeting, consulting engineer Joe Barbagallo told residents that Westchester County has agreed not to charge property owners in the sewer district buy-in and operations and maintenance fees until construction brings the sewer pipes to the front of homeowners’ property lines.
Westchester holds the keys to allowing Somers’ wastewater to be treated at its plant in Peekskill.
Until the new district is formed, Somers can’t access the $10 million it has been allocated as part of the East of Hudson Water Quality Improvement Program funded by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection. Nor can Somers, which has been working on the project for two years, pursue further outside funding.
The town’s chief argument for bringing public sewers to the lake communities is that aging septic systems—of which there are too many in too small a space—have been leaking, potentially endangering drinking water and speeding up the death of the lakes. It also contends sewers will increase property values.
Opponents, however, have said there are better ways to accomplish the same environmental goals and fear their properties will be destroyed and their peaceful neighborhoods disrupted by the construction. They also have publicly accused the town of having an ulterior motive: to pave the way for more development.
In general, opponents have said they feel there are too many unanswered questions for the project to proceed.
If approved by voters, the project will start with the installation of sewer lines to connect 103 properties in the R-10 zone to the new system, with the expectation it will accommodate connections for 938 properties at full build-out.
According to the town, the cost to individual property owners is $1,187 a year, a figure that’s also been disputed by some who feel the project would pose an onerous financial burden.
Once the public hearing is declared closed, the town will have 60 to 75 days to hold a public referendum.