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Home Owner points out highly controversial School District Expense

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NEXT TIME, YOUR PROPERTY

By Eric Adams

 

The Easton Area School District is threatening to use the highly controversial power of eminent domain to condemn a large section of my property in order to build a new million dollar stormwater system for which there is evidently no need.  Although the new stormwater system is to be “dedicated” to Palmer Township, all  taxpayers of the Easton school district (already the highest taxed school district in Northampton County) are going to pay for it.

 

The school district has recently announced plans to demolish Palmer Elementary School and build a new elementary school on the same spot.  According to plans, the new school will have 9,000 square feet LESS impervious surface (roofing, asphalt, etc) and will include a massive stormwater retention basin with spray irrigation such that both the volume of stormwater and peak discharge rate of stormwater leaving the school’s property will be REDUCED by 52% or more depending on storm conditions.

 

However, instead of discharging the stormwater into the existing stormwater system at the greatly reduced rate, a proposal rejected by the township, the school district now proposes to build a quarter-mile long stormwater pipe to transport and then discharge the water onto a residential property.  There will be a 720 square foot rip-rap apron (bed of boulders) in my yard to receive stormwater from the open end of a 36″ diameter partially buried pipe and then direct the water into an existing culvert underneath Greenwood Ave.  At least two mature trees will be destroyed; forever compromising the historic nature of what is widely believed to be one of the oldest occupied homes in Palmer Township (circa 1755).

The cost of the stormwater system is very roughly estimated to be on the order of a million dollars.  The school district did not provide the planning commission with a formal cost estimate, and none of the board members asked for one.  Too often the cost of a project is of secondary importance and few of our elected leaders ever wonder if a proposed project is the most prudent allocation of the taxpayer’s limited financial resources.  And whenever there appears to be no true need for the project at all, the question, Cui bono? (Who benefits?), is seldom asked.

 

The Palmer Township Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hear arguments from both sides and comments from the public before rendering judgment on Tuesday, June 26 at 7pm at the Palmer Municipal Complex on 1 Weller Place, Easton PA.  The meeting is open to the general public.  Watch for last-minute changes on the website www.palmertwp.com.

 

Eric Adams is a homeowner in Palmer Township

 

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