Tuesday, May 06, 2008

1 May 2008 DCRSD Public Hearing on sewer Ordinance Notes

1 May 2008 DCRSD Public Hearing on sewer Ordinance Notes

Approximately 60 people were present. The meeting was moved, earlier in the day, to the Lawrenceburg Library meeting room. There were 6 tables in the audience with 2-3 chairs apiece at them and the table in front for the board. The secretary was present and asked people to sign in. She did not collect the signature sheet at the end. There was no tape of this meeting. Citizens went to the closet to pull out their own chairs and set up.

[NOTE: The public notice for this public hearing was published in the paper and was NOT sent to the paper for additional FREE publication as a news brief. The paper and this blog published the announcement so that citizens might be aware of this possibility of forced sewer hook-ups by DCRSD. Most citizens do not read all the legal notices in the back of the paper.]

Present: Dave Enzweiler, Chairman, Barry Pruss, Brett Fehrman, Rodney Dennerline, John Maxwell, and Steve Renihan. The 7th member position has not been filled upon Hankins resignation. Kramer, Attorney and Quinn, Engineer were also present.

Three county commissioners were present.

In the audience were candidates: Kathy Scott, Thom Hammond, Barbara Wyly, Pat Holland, and Tom Orschel.

Dave Enzweiler waited 10 minutes to be certain people had time to read the room change notice and get across the street. He then read the ordinance in its entirety. [NOTE: The ordinance is listed in an earlier April posting on this blog]

Frank Kramer said that IN Code gives the board the power to force connection within 300 ft of the property line. There is an exception in statute that if the septic system is 5 years old or less and working per the board of health, it is allowed. [NOTE: The law also phases the exception out within a few years- it is just a means to try to recoup some of the expense of the initial septic system.] Kramer noted that the law intends to phase out private septic systems where public sewers are available. The policy is that funds are recovered from people served by that line. The ordinance was published 2 times as required by statute.

Dave Enzweiler said all three commissioners were present and asked to speak. [NOTE: Hughes called to get on DCRSD agenda. The previous evening at the Candidates Night, Hughes, when questioned about this hearing and ordinance said that he doubted the ordinance would pass. And he went further to say that if they did, they would replace the board members. Perhaps he did not remember the commissioners only appoint 3 of the 7 members.]

Jeff Hughes- said he wants to protect individual citizens and their rights. He cited sections 2, 6, and 7 and said the American Spirit was about being self-sufficient and if it worked, why hook on to the sewer? Government steps in when sewage is on the neighbor’s land, but not otherwise. Stewart and Cole Lane were negotiated with Aurora. “I have a hard time with this.” All three commissioners said we’ll go to court –[NOTE: Go to testify on behalf of citizens- not pay for lawyers or initiate the court action.] - we don’t want to force hook-ups. This needs to be evaluated more. Just because the state says it, does not make it right.

Rick Fox- said all 3 of us agreed we’d testify on their behalf- we’re not for forced hook-ups. As background on why this exists. A guy called me at work and told me he had sewage on his neighbor’s land and couldn’t afford to fix it and there was no sewer available. He was going to lose his home. [NOTE: So we make a law for the whole county based on one person’s experience?]Anyone building will have to hook onto available sewers. I don’t think you should be able to go onto people’s land to check their systems. This creates a roadblock and an impediment to people you are supposed to serve.

Barbara Wyly- The law says once you decide to do this- you force people. This law belongs in areas of high density- not farm areas. [NOTE: Wyly is an attorney running for judge.]

Rick Fox- I can’t imagine the state coming down and forcing them on. If we have to go to court for you we will. [NOTE: Fox left shortly after this and did NOT stay to hear the rest of the people or the outcome.]

Ralph Thompson- I have been against this since before this DCRSD was even formed. Some problems are solved but not the one DCRSD was designed to solve. This should not go in Ag areas. I will testify in court and continue to talk to state senators to get it changed. The developer needs to pay the cost- do not burden the people in between.

Dave Enzweiler- In response to the commissioners- we do not want to force people on if their system works. I am not saying this ordinance is 100% correct. I got on this board because I was in your shoes. I received a letter to sign us up to the sewer. I spent a year on an advisory committee and fought giving easements on my land at my lawyer’s advice. We cannot go to Aurora or Dillsboro and so we are trying a package plant. If your sewer is failed, you should hook-up. You bring us the paperwork to show you are OK. [Note: Guilty until proven innocent?]

Thom Hammond- I understand how you are trying to make this work. BUT- the words in black and white say otherwise. In S. Leon, someone was at a meeting like this 10 years ago before I was on the scene and now look at us. Other people will interpret your ordinance someday. How will these people be safe from hook-up enforcement? Write it EXACTLY the way you intend it. Perhaps consider 300 ft to the dwelling?

Dave Enzweiler- People have to speak up and go to the state.

Thom Hammond- Can’t your attorney and your board go with us?

Dave Enzweiler- St. Leon is different due to the grants being dependent on hook-ups.

Thom Hammond- This issue ripped this county apart. It is about fairness. Hammond described abandoning septic and ice storm power outages. Septic systems WORK! We do not live in the city- we live on farmland. Also take a look at #7- the fines accrue even while a dispute is being settled. They should be suspended until a dispute is resolved.

Brett Fehrman motioned and Rodney Dennerline 2nd to start over with the ordinance. (Before the vote was taken- more discussion was allowed.)

Unknown citizen- 92 counties and we’re the one forcing hook-ups

Dave Enzweiler- they are not doing what they should do.

Brett Fehrman- 95% of the people here do not agree with the state law on the exceptions.

Ralph Thompson- wastewater in this code- well what about animal waste?

Jerry Jacobson- per Mr. Kramer- “A law is not a law unless it’s enforced.” If 92 counties are not- it is a bad law. Municipalities are DIFFERENT from the countryside. Jacobson described his mother’s farm where the house is a half mile from all roads- but the sewer might be at her property edge someday.

Dave Enzweiler- we are using a pressure system because the gravity is 3 times the expense.

Ralph Thompson- that is the cost to this board- you gave the other costs to the PEOPLE with the pumps etc. Thompson explained how Clermont County works with their hilly terrain using gravity to the valleys and lifts.

Unknown woman- The state law is a guideline for us to put our law together. I think the age of the septic system is immaterial.

Chet Wolgamot- If you start over- get as much info as possible. (Kramer verified that it says MAY.) So write the law for the existing health issues. Do not create any more High Ridge Estates. Low-pressure systems are no good. We do not want everyone to be their own sewer system. We only need sewers for high density. Municipalities can work outward with the infrastructure. The rural county has room and can get by with well-maintained septic systems.
The homeowners should not have to provide documentation that the system is working correctly. That is backwards. It is different if there is a health hazard. You know when a system is failed.

Dave Enzweiler- How would you know?

Mark Hall- Has anyone been sick?

Mary Lynn Hertle- Our group has been to the state- gone to our reps- we get no replies and no help. They will respond to YOU- you have more clout than I do.

Steve Walker- Earlier you indicated you were under the auspices of the state to write this. (Enzweiler indicated that the board did this law) Walker detailed his particular experience with a panhandle lot and the large and impossible distance to his home for pressure line.

Tom Orschel- If you want to redo this- can you get knowledgeable people here to help you? Chet, Thompson, Hammond, etc.

Cliff Eibeck- You will know when a system is not working by the smell.

Unknown woman2- Low density needs to be defined. I live on one acre. The septic when it fails backs up to the house- you know when it fails. You have to fix it.

Thom Hammond- St. Leon started out by soliciting voluntary hook-ups. Many did with the $400 tap fee and free grinders with lifetime maintenance. Now it’s $4000 tap and resident pays all expenses. We need to push back at the state. Asked how many on the board were on sewers. The count was 2 (one was Renihan who lives in OHIO) and 4 on septic tanks.

John Draper- (son of Norb Draper, the developer of High Ridge Estates, who filed bankruptcy and was responsible for the pkg plant and lagoon at High Ridge) - Does this board have a say over St. Leon? (Answer – no)

Dave Enzweiler- and not over VRUC either.

John Draper- you are driven by the Board of Health to fix problem areas. Many failed- some say 80%. The board of health certifies these as absolute problem areas. He gave examples that he said were of leach fields all tied to a line to a creek.

Kathy Scott- Watch out for the may and shall in these ordinances. What was the catalyst that brought this to the surface- what made you make this ordinance?

Dave Enzweiler- Maxwell wanted something in writing to say what we will do. For Cole Lane and Stewart St some are running in the ditches on the road. We found grant money to help them pay.

Jerry Jacobson- The County Health Board has the ability to force hook-ups.

Rodney Dennerline- They can condemn the house and order to ABATE the problem- after 90 days they go to court etc. [NOTE: Apparently that’s a lot of WORK as they said and they don’t like to do all that to a citizen. However, the DCRSD will end up doing the same thing with this law. And worse.]

Chris Mueller- What about gravity sewers? Why use these grinders when we know they fail- and people who say they do not have problems in Lawrenceburg on the hill with them are wrong. I have seen it on my own street- Shady Lane twice- it was running in the street from a failed grinder and down the sewer drain. They have dug up others on the hill as well. It is not eco-friendly to have electricity run out in every yard to fire up grinder pumps. We have a county terrain that can work FOR us with gravity systems, if creatively designed. The lift stations would be operated and maintained by the professionals with the utility and not citizens who do NOT know how to do that. [Note: Costs of grinder systems are cheap at the outset because the cost has been transferred to the citizens.] We have to think of the future- long term, gravity would be better, easier to size the lines, less redigging of front yards to add homes etc. People on farms should NOT be forced onto sewers, scouring lines and maintaining pressure as well as helping pay is the only reasons this is happening in our county. Gravity would solve that.

Mary Lynn Hertle- Get people who do know- how to do this.

Steve Renihan- If this ordinance reiterates the state – why do we need it? [NOTE Renihan is new to the board- the state ordinance ENABLES the county to force if they choose. Otherwise, the county can opt to do either.]

Frank Kramer- There is no difference in the board policy or ordinance “unless specifically permitted by the district.” You have to decide how you will permit hook-ups or not.

Steve Renihan- The Health Board can require them.

Frank Kramer- its work for the Health Dept to test, get expert witness, etc.

John Maxwell- If we say the system does not work, hook-up, and then we will be back doing the Health Dept. job for them. We could sue the health board to do their job.

Unknown woman- would like no time limit in the age of the septic tank.

Pat Holland- People should also have the option to redo their septic tanks.

Chet Wolgamot- suggested some wording that forced hook-ups would only be for a demonstrated existing health hazard that could not be fixed except by sewer connection, or that the property owner refuses to correct.

Board voted on the motion to rework the ordinance- All ayes.

[NOTE: Because the meeting was not taped- the minutes will be based on the secretary’s notes. Perhaps someone needs to be sure that the ideas for reworking the ordinance as expressed by the people at this meeting- are actually incorporated into the official minutes and also considered at the meeting when this ordinance is “revised.”]

Other business:

Update on Serenity Ridge and Renihan abstained from the vote on a claim for it.

Per Dennerline – John Draper said his parents will donate ground for the package plant at High Ridge – Dennerline motioned and Renihan 2nd the board voted unanimously to study the feasibility for the package plant at High Ridge.

Quinn Engineering claim paid.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


DCCitizen2 said...

Hughes says he will replace the Board members, if the vote to enact the Ordinance. He cannot even begin to replace those members. They can be replaced only if they resign, are impeached or their term runs out. And if he did, would he put more Ohio residents on the Board?

Rehnihan brings no relevant experience to the Board, so why was he appointed? Because he got his and they expect him to return the favor?

Robert Bissett said...

This meeting and hearing was poorly conducted and the chairman should be asked to resign from that leadership position as a result.

Board members were not introduced or identified and people were allowed to speak without identifying themselves.

A motion to table the ordinance was made and seconded before the hearing was officially ended.... I do not think the hearing was ever officially ended.

Discussion from the public was allowed while a vote on motion was pending.

A new low in Dearborn County meetings.

dji said...

If Jeff Hughes is at the end of his term and attempting to run for a second, shouldn't he know what his authority is for appointing and removing DCRSD members? Why would he promise something beyond his power? More of the same, I guess, whatever he thinks we want to hear.
The meeting may not have been taped by the DCRSD but it was taped by, I believe, at least 2 people in the audience.

Edith said...

What a terrific time to alienate your most passionate posters!

Good job guys and gals!

What a way to drain the enthusiasm out of your most fervent smart growth supporters!

Thank you "A. Dearborn Countian" for usurping "Mueller" and taking or regaining whatever power you may have over this blog!

Make sure you make sure that "anonymous" posters do not drown out tin-eared geniuses like Bissett and Company!

Good work, Dingleberies!

Edith said...

Welcome to the quest for better citizenship!


politicalpolly said...

edith- i have to agree
shutting down the voices of the masses to allow only those clever enough to figure out how to keep their personal profiles off the internet didn't help - especially at election time.

Jman said...

No one is getting their voices shut out, that claim is getting very old already. You can still be very anonymous on this board.

Jman said...

Also if that is all it takes for people to not post their opinions or comments then they probably weren't adding much to the conversation anyway.

politicalpolly said...

elitism is not what the blog is about-
censorship is not what the blog is about-
blocking certain commenters by making it harder to sign up and using that as a measure of their "intelligence" is not what the blog is about-
it's supposed to be a PUBLIC FORUM.
i'm disgusted with new rules- and i'm "smart" enough to figure out how to sign up.
i bet those who's voices have been silenced are disgusted too.
but we won't hear from them now- will we?

Edith said...

Want to post here, get on the "AGENDA."

quitecontrarie said...

edith- did you vote?
i think the voters missed something- this blog is full of information and somehow it was ignored.
all because of hillary?
or because the back fence "gossip line" here was demolished?

Jman said...

Who said anything about "elitism", being "smart" enough or "intelligence"?
Absolutely no one is being blocked from being on this website. You act like it is nearly impossible to figure out how to sign up for an account.

Jman said...

Political Polly, I am not against you on this site. I am just saying that this should not stop anyone from being heard. If anyone needs any help setting up an account they can e-mail me at jman6574@gmail.com, I will be glad to help.

politicalpolly said...

jman- then they have to tell you who they are and they are no longer anonymous.
how do they know they can trust YOU?
the internet is a strange place....

Jman said...

I can be trusted, I was actually someone who would have been effected by the Northwest Quadrant proposal. If anyone wants any help they can e-mail me and I will let them know who I am.

Hoosier said...

Just because you are one of the people in the northwest quadrant makes you trust worthy. So does that mean someone who lives in the southern part that would not have been effected, you would not be able to trust. I am sorry but that statement makes no since.

But to others who read. It is not hard at all to sign up. Once you sign up it is as easy as it was before. I signed up and nothing that I had to fill in was anything about who I am except for the name I chose myself. Plus once you have posted a comment you can have your computer remember you username and password.

Jman said...

I don't believe I said that at all but I do think a lot of people are very weary about the things our county government has done and are a little scared of possible backlash from remarks on this board. I would help anyone out who needs help, it doesn't matter where they are from.

Edith said...

Just cut out all this hall monitor nonsense.

By the way, who re-tooled this site to run as slow and/or to lock up our browsers similar to trying to read the "new and improved" Journal and Register sites?