Westgate homeowners in South Middleton Township could be subject to a new stormwater district fee that was proposed at a township supervisors meeting on Thursday night.
If finalized, however, the proposed fee would apply only to 122 homes within the Westgate development in South Middleton. Property owners in all other portions of the township would not be subject to the proposed fee, township manager Cory Adams said on Thursday.
“This is a unique situation,” Adams said. “Westgate’s ponds are not being maintained and are overgrown. It’s a public safety issue. We’re looking to establish a stormwater district in that area so that the township can maintain it. The (Westgate) homeowner association is not fully functional and there’s literally no one there to maintain them.”
Usually, drainage ponds for residential developments like Westgate are maintained by using funds collected through homeowner association fees, although this hasn’t been the case in Westgate for a number of years. Supervisor chairman Bryan Gembusia, a longtime Westgate resident, said that his neighborhood’s homeowner association “collapsed” around 10 years ago due to a shortage of paying members.
According to Gembusia, the project’s original developer didn’t include a requirement for homeowner association membership in the development’s property deeds, so few, if any residents in Westgate’s first three phases knew the organization existed and didn’t join. Since the association’s collapse, pond maintenance has been done on a sporadic basis by developers and homeowners at their own expense
Adams said township officials “are working on” a proposed ordinance that would establish a “narrow” stormwater district in the area that would affect only the 122 Westgate homes. “We’re not quite sure how we’re going to levy (the proposed stormwater fee). It could be attached to residents’ sewer or tax bills,” Adams said.
The ordinance draft could be presented for township supervisors’ consideration within the next several weeks.
Supervisors approved conditional use modifications to the United Parcel Service’s existing Mountain Creek Distribution Center at Allen Road and Ames Drive. Approximately 40 percent of the 595,000-foot facility’s 60-acre lot is in South Middleton. The remainder is in Dickinson Township.
UPS plans to add a truck wash and fueling areas, two guard houses, additional parking and fencing on the facility’s outside grounds, plus a customer retail center within the existing building. South Middleton board members said the plans have been approved by Dickinson Township officials.
Project engineer Holly Evans of Evans Engineering said developers’ next step is submitting land development plans for approval by each township. Construction could begin late this year or by early 2020 and is expected to take “three or four months,” Evans said.
Also on Thursday, supervisors approved a conditional use plan submitted by Group & Group for Midway Self-Storage at 1545 Holly Pike. The firm was represented by Donald A. Group, who said he owns the business with his two sons.
Supervisors granted Group & Group permission to alter an existing traffic island at Midway’s entrance to safely navigate left turns from Holly Pike. Until now, only right turns were permitted here, but supervisors said motorists often attempt the severe right turn from Holly Pike anyway. The turn is considered particularly dangerous for vehicles with trailers.
Group said he expects installation of the new traffic island to happen within “the next few months. … It’s a one-day job.”