Northampton Press

Monday, June 17, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILResidents in the Stoneridge development are concerned about the stormwater infiltration pits in their yards. They brought their concerns to the Allen Township Board of Supervisors May 28. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL CMILResidents in the Stoneridge development are concerned about the stormwater infiltration pits in their yards. They brought their concerns to the Allen Township Board of Supervisors May 28.

Residents concerned about infiltration pits in yards

Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Allen stops further Stoneridge development until issues are addressed

Maria Bonett came to the Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting May 28 to continue her quest for a resolution to problems she and her neighbors are having at the Stoneridge development just off Savage Road.

The headaches with Stoneridge continue for the township and the residents. The residents have problems with the homes built by Rondel Development Company. Basement leaks are the primary complaint. The roadways are also in bad shape, according to resident Diane Larier.

“The roads are not finished, and we should not deal with these problems with a new house,” Larier said.

Chairman Larry Oberly commented that developers do not put the final coat on the roads until all the homes are built.

“They are all built,” Bonett said.

Bonett is unsatisfied with the results from previous meetings. She and her neighbors intend to keep pursuing their options.

Plans for a third construction phase were put on hold because of alleged tensions between the developer and the township.

The land is owned by Livengood Excavating, but the houses are built by Rondel. Residents complain that problems exist with the stormwater abatement plans and neither organization is responsive.

According to Bonett, the storm abatement plans were developed by Northampton County Conservation District but are not working.

“First, when we bought the houses, the infiltration pits were sold as a temporary fixture. We didn’t find out until later that we cannot do anything with the pits, but we are responsible for them,” she said. “The infiltration pits do not work.”

Bonett said she has had the pits examined. According to her source, there is supposed to be approved soils, gravel and special grass seed in detention ponds.

“Livengood did the excavation and built the pits. There is nothing special in there. It’s the same dirt and there is no magic grass,” she said.

The pits flood at every rainstorm and retain a significant amount of water.

“These things take up a third of our yard,” she said. “It’s like living next to a swamp. There are mosquitoes everywhere.”

Livengood claims the detention areas are built to plan. The county conservation district agrees and, according to Bonett, does not want to take responsibility for the performance of the pits.

Stormwater controls, like infiltration pits and rain gardens, are part of the state’s MS4 plan designed to control stormwater flows. Bonett does not mind having a way to control stormwater in her backyard.

“I need something that works, not a mud pit that takes up a third of my backyard,” she said.

The fear that most residents have is that the county conservation district will not admit it might have made a mistake and proposed something that does not work. Livengood would be off the hook if the existing plan is approved and the responsibility would fall to the homeowners, according to the residents.

Oberly expressed his frustration at the meeting, indicating that the county conservation district did not clear changes to the plan with the township. What the township has done is stop any further building on the site until the outstanding issues can be cured.

According to Bonett, the older part of the development was built by a different builder and has a different MS4 plan.

“At the other houses, stormwater goes into a swale and some is piped into a detention pond,” she said. “They don’t have the same problems we have.”

In other action, the township hired an attorney and a consultant to deal with a zoning complaint filed by the Willow Brook project owners, Fuller Family Trust. The land owners want to see denser housing allowed on the land in Allen Township.