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Letters to the Editor 8/9

August 09, 2000

Letters to the Editor 8/9



Sewer plan a mess



To the editor:

Imagine hiring an architect to design an addition to your home. After many months of work he produces a plan that includes a thirty car garage, basement stairs leading 1,000 feet into a tunnel that goes nowhere and a spare bedroom floating 20 feet in the air and not attached to either the house or the ground.

"What is all this?" You query.

The architect explains, "This is not a finished plan. Please note that possible additions have been shown on the drawings that are not financially feasible to construct. These must be included in order to show that all possible additions were considered. This is done so cost estimates can be made which prove additions are not feasible. Many of the additions are simply to show how rooms can be added. Simply because an addition is shown on a drawing does not indicate that it is a feasible design."

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If this sounds like mid-summer madness to you, then take a minute and review the Jefferson County Countywide Wastewater Facilities Plan prepared by Pentree, Incorporated. This is exactly what our tax dollars have created.

The draft plan, including 47 oversized pages of maps and aerial photos, fills the county with $234 million in pipes, pumps, and grinders. Major existing subdivisions are overlooked for service while open farmland is fully plumbed for high-density development. Sewer lines hang off of solid rock cliffs and major new plants are sited on federal land, not available for county use.

No explanation is provided as to what set of assumptions, dart boards, or networks were used to determine this seemingly random placement of sewer lines.

Remember that every foot of pipe is a government "taking." It creates public utility right-of-way where there is now privately owned land. Not only does this mean digging up ground, but also destroying private landscaping and cutting down mature trees. This will all be done through eminent domain.

It also establishes the Public Service District's right of access to service and modify these lines in perpetuity. In addition, state law dictates that if any of these lines are within 300 feet of your property you will be forced to hook-up and forever pay for public sewer regardless of how viable your current septic system may be.

There is another concern about this plan. The iron rule of development is that "if you build it they will come." This works for roads, water and sewer. At a time when Jefferson County has just begun Phase II of its review of the Comprehensive Plan and county ordinances should we allow the sewer system to drive development? The Wastewater Facilities Plan assertively promotes unrestricted and intense residential growth yet it was not mandated by any part of the county government. So why this? Why now?

The public has until Sept. 5, 2000 to comment on this draft plan. Then a new final plan, featuring the real or feasible sewer system and pipe locations, will be created and sent directly to the State Public Service Commission for funding and implementation. While an informational hearing on this final plan will be held, this final plan will not be distributed to the public for any detailed review and comment.

Local citizens should stop this insanity before it destroys our county. This is one emission that should not be permitted.

Scot M. Faulkner

Bolivar Heights

Thanks, Sen. Munson



To the editor:

This letter is to express sincere appreciation to Sen. Donald Munson and the 2000 Senatorial Scholarship Committee. That committee includes the following: Donna Spickler, Mary Ann Childress, Georgiann Breichner, Michaela Whitaker, Betty Collyer, John Talley and Richard Everhart.

It is with pride that I, Courtney H. Washington, accept this Senatorial Scholarship. This community will benefit greatly as a result of assisting with my education. I plan to re-pay Washington County with my dedicated service to our community. Again, I salute Senator Munson and the 2000 Senatorial Scholarship Committee.

Courtney H. Washington

Addictions Counselor II

Hagerstown

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