The Council of Governments General Forum reviewed presentations by both the UAJA and Halfmoon Township leadership Monday on a proposal for expanded sewer service that could benefit the rural township.
During its April meeting, the forum discussed the University Area Joint Authority’s request to update the Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan to include the possible future expansion of sewer service to Halfmoon and address the future upgrade of sewer lines and pump stations serving the Grays Woods development in Patton Township.
When Grays Woods was first considered, there was concern whether UAJA would be allowed to expand to handle the increased flow, UAJA Executive Director Cory Miller said. A system of pump stations with a possible satellite treatment center was considered in conjunction with the desire to keep all lines within the sewer service area.
This resulted in the half-dozen pump stations that service the area, he said.
At some point, he said, a decision would need to be made on the future of the lines, pumps and the need for a satellite system based on the capacity of the pumps. That capacity is expected to be reached in about five years.
The preference is for a gravity line, Miller said, as it is more reliable than pump stations, which can fail. A proposed gravity line would run “down the valley to Meeks Lane, following the old rail line, along Stephenson Road and through the Cedar Cliff development.”
This line would fall outside of the sewer service area, he said, and could provide easy access for Halfmoon Township to connect to the UAJA system. The preliminary estimated cost of extending the line would be about $3.5 million.
Halfmoon Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Stevenson gave a preview of the work in progress between the supervisors and the township Planning Commission to “promote an efficient, environmentally sound development that preserves the rural character of the township.”
“This is not a current request to extend the sewer service area to Halfmoon or a developer-driven initiative,” he reminded the forum.
The benefits to rezoning areas of the township would prevent suburban sprawl, diversify the tax base and encourage more efficient development, he said. A connection to the sewer service line would also allow for the construction of a new municipal building, as repairing the current building would cost about half as much as constructing a new building.
Township Manager Susan Steele presented a land use map approved by the Planning Commission in 2013, which would result in 72 percent of the township preserved as agriculture and forest, 20 percent as residential usage and 4 percent as mixed usage. Higher density and mixed use would be concentrated to the east where Halfmoon meets Patton Township and the proposed sewage line would connect the townships.
Any possible rezoning of the township wouldn’t happen for at least 20 to 24 months, Stevenson said. The township will be seeing extensive Planning Commission and residential input.