Plans to run a sanitary sewer line along St. Mary Drive have been approved by the state.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
MINERAL RIDGE -- Homeowners generally welcome the installation of sanitary sewers to service their properties, but most residents along St. Mary Drive in the Sable Creek development don't want to pay for them.
"We're just tired of the run-around. We don't want to pay for it. We've already paid for septic systems," complains David Fowler, president of Sable Creek Neighborhood Association.
Of the 12 members of his association, two property owners would rather pay for the sanitary sewers, Fowler said.
The neighborhood is relatively new, Fowler explained, with houses ranging upwards from $250,000 on one- to four-acre lots.
Construction began about five years ago. Fowler said that as the houses were going up, owners installed septic systems, costing from about $12,000 to $30,000.
The question of sanitary sewers surfaced after Gary Ventling bought five acres at the top of St. Mary's, where he is having a house built outside the development area.
Rex Fee, assistant director of the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer's Office, said Ventling has permission from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to run a sewer from his property, along St. Mary to a line at Sable Creek Drive.
What's in law
Frank Migliozzi, director of environmental health for the Trumbull County Health Department, said that once a sanitary sewer becomes available and if it's within 200 feet of a property, the owner of that property is required to tie in and pay a share of the cost of construction. The cost is based on the amount of front footage.
Ventling said he didn't have a choice but to install the sanitary sewer because he was denied a permit to install a septic system.
"I really wanted to put in a leaching field," Ventling said, noting he was encouraged by George Buccella, health department administer and former township trustee, to install the sanitary sewers at an estimated cost of $60,000.
Fee pointed out that once installation of a sewer line is complete, the health department sends out notices requiring tie-in within 90 days.
Buccella explained that property owners can seek a variance from the health board to extend the time required to tie in.
Fee pointed out that two septic systems on St. Mary appear to be failing.
Fowler counters that the systems, if they are failing, can be repaired.
What bothers most association members, Fowler said, is that not only did they pay for approved septic systems, but they don't know when work will begin on the sanitary system, who will repair their driveways and brick mailboxes after the line is laid and how long it will be to make the landscaping right.
Fowler said he would be satisfied if St. Mary homeowners would be allowed to connect to the sanitary line as their private systems fail.
"It's really a civil problem," asserted Weathersfield Trustee Fred Bobovnyk. "We can't work against the law."
"I can empathize, but I don't think they'll prevail," he said of the St. Mary's residents.