Local Township found liable


[Edit 10-3-2011: The judge’s opinion rulings have been downloaded and linked to this page for reference. See below the break]

 

Actually, the case began back to the spring of 2006. A local farmer in my town, William Deibert, sued Lower Macungie Township because of water runoff from two new adjacent housing developments. The only reason he noticed was the damage that was being caused by the additional water draining across his farm fields.

Clearly, this is an exaggeration, I think

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  This just adds fuel to the fire that subdivisions are evil. Turns out the developers followed the directions they were given. What?

The basic facts; before development construction, about 15 acres drained to his property from the developments. Fast forward to project completion and now an additional 33 acres drained to his property. Still, not unusual so far. But here’s the kicker, the judge found that the farmer’s property saw an increase of 170% of water volume from the developments.

Judge rulings:

LCCPA_OP_1

LCCPA_OP_2

LCCPA_OP_3

LCCPA_OP_4

LCCPA_OP_5

 

Yes, you read that right, 170 percent.  The judge ruled that the township was negligent in approving the storm water plans as well as violating its own subdivision and land development ordinances along with the State’s storm water management act. Those developers must have had the greatest “soft-shoe” engineers in the world I guess. You know, “hey, look at me dance!” when asked about specifics.  🙂

Anyway, the really interesting part is that the judge in his order noted that the township engineer was of “low credibility due to the manner and content of his testimony” and that the engineer talked around questions and was defensive. Yay for me! This guy works in my township….

Ultimately though, the developers were not totally off the hook as the judge required the builders to reimburse the township’s cost to fix the problem. The township’s solution? put in a bypass storm sewer. So, not only is the increased volume apparently not being addressed, but we’ll build something to dump on someone else. Fantastic.

As far as costs to the taxpayers of the township?  Zero. As it should be.  The builders are paying $100k while the township’s insurance covers the remaining construction cost, legal fees and damages to the farmer.

In defense of my township, it overtook Easton as the third largest “municipality” in the LehighValley with a whopping staff of about 35 people. That’s significant growth. So the airport should now be called ABLMT instead of ABE?  Yeah, probably not going to happen…  So what’s happening in your town that’s bass ackwards?

Oh, this isn’t even the opinion piece I talked about before. Hoping to publish soon…

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About Kevin
Hi… I am a husband, father, brother and neighbor. I am employed as a Civil Engineer and have enjoyed playing the drums for the last 30+ years.

3 Responses to Local Township found liable

  1. Wow! Not entirely unexpected results, but still Wow non-the-less! Do you have any links to the ruling?

    Like

    • Kevin says:

      I did find the Judge’s opinion. It’s linked here:
      http://opinions.lccpa.org/PDFs/OPS65/LCCPA_OP_941352434.pdf

      Like

    • Kevin says:

      The previous link was the latest opinion. Upon further review, here’s the search that lists 5 total rulings. And yes, there were many counts involved. Sad and ridiculous all at the same time.

      Search Opinions – Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas http://bit.ly/mUxzBZ

      Like

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