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South Middleton Township supervisors finalized an ordinance on Thursday that establishes a new stormwater district in the township’s Westgate development.

At the same time, the board approved a resolution establishing an annual $100 stormwater district fee for the approximately 120 homes in the district. Property owners in all other areas of the township aren’t subject to the fee.

The board’s actions on Thursday were prompted by a “very, very unique situation,” township engineer Brian O’Neill said.

Township officials previously said that Westgate’s drainage ponds are overgrown and haven’t been properly maintained for years. Usually, drainage ponds for residential developments are maintained using funds collected through homeowner association fees, but this hasn’t been the case in Westgate. Supervisor chairman Bryan Gembusia, a longtime Westgate resident, has said that the neighborhood’s homeowner association became defunct around 10 years ago due a shortage of paying members.

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According to Gembusia, Westgate’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.

Township supervisors approved establishing the stormwater district and fee in a 4-0 vote. Gembusia abstained because he is a Westgate resident.

Supervisor Duff Manweiler said on Thursday that the South Middleton Municipal Authority is “still working on” a billing system for the new stormwater district, so residents won’t be billed at this time. However, township officials said they plan to send out informational letters about the new stormwater district to affected residents.

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