East Greenville residents could be faced with thousands of dollars in unforeseen costs when trying to sell their home if the Upper Montgomery Joint Authority (UMJA) begins requiring lateral sewer line inspections before property transfers can be finalized.
According to Borough Manager Jim Fry, UMJA likely will be able to institute the requirement under its current regulations, which require regular maintenance of sewer lines. The requirement could begin by Sept. 30, Fry said.
Inspections would look for damaged lateral lines and require them to be fixed before a property transfer, such as the sale of a house, could be finalized. Damaged lines can allow groundwater infiltration into the borough's sewer system, a problem UMJA is trying to address. The inspections would also look for things like illegal downspouts, which also increase groundwater infiltration levels.
On Monday, council member Tracy Hunsinger questioned how the requirement would affect borough residents, since homeowners would likely be unaware of any problems in their lateral lines until they are inspected. Fry said repairs could cost thousands of dollars depending on the length of the pipes and their condition. He added that UMJA is willing to conduct inspections even if a property is not being transferred if residents want to check the condition of their pipes and make repairs regardless of a potential transfer.
In other UMJA news, Mayor Ryan Sloyer said that he would not sign off on a resolution that would permit the authority to begin a multi-million plant upgrade until he has seen specific state Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency mandates requiring the upgrades. He is currently reviewing the plans.
Also at Monday's meeting, Sloyer reported that Upper Perk Police have increased their presence in the 100 block of School Alley, where teenagers have been loitering in recent weeks. Last month, Sloyer said a group of teens were causing problems for residents in the area, blocking garage entrances and a dumpster truck trying to work in the area, as well as trespassing and intimidating residents.
According to Sloyer, police have spoken to the teens about what types of behaviors will and will not be tolerated and residents have "noticed a difference in the kids'" behavior.
"It seems to be helping," Sloyer said of police actions.
Sloyer also said Fry recently collected decibel reading data near the Home City Ice plant on Washington Street and found that noise levels in the area are in line with "regular, everyday noise."
"I'm not saying there's no noise, there's always going to be noise," Sloyer said, "But it's not registering out of line."
Council also discussed recent county commissioner approval of a grant to fund the Bank and Washington streets parking lot expansion. Details on the grant will be forthcoming, for example the amount of the grant and the borough's required matching portion. Previous cost estimates for the project are around $25,000 with lighting, and $19,000-$20,000 without the lighting, Fry said. The expansion would add about 12 spaces to the 20 currently available.
Board Vice President Josiah Pierson called the grant "great news for our revitalization plan. That's what we need downtown -- more parking."
Sloyer also urged council to "let people start using" the clubhouse at the Colonial Village development. "People need to see the next step" in the clubhouse project, he said, noting that a lot of time and money has already gone into improving the property. The clubhouse is intended to be available as a rental space to East Greenville residents. "It's costing us more [money] just sitting there," he said.
Other council members agreed, and Pierson, who heads the committee in charge of the clubhouse, said he hopes to have a concrete plan to open the facility by the next council meeting. "I think it does need some attention before we rent it out, but we're basically there," he said. Council agreed to hold a work day to move benches and other items around the property and Fry said he will look into polishing the floors of the hall and will check on other small details related to building maintenance.
Council also noted that the borough is currently accepting applications for upcoming vacancies on the Planning Commission and UMJA board. Interested residents should contact the borough at 215-679-5194 for more information.