July 12, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Sound View Residents’ Sewer Cost Concerns are Justified

To the Editor:

Thank you for your coverage of the Sound View sewer project.  Property owners in Sound View should be aware of their potential obligation for the construction, operation, and maintenance of this system.

According to the WPCA slide presentation, the “typical average house of 1 EDU (1,242 square feet)” would be charged a “$6,000 connection fee plus a $25,007 betterment assessment” for a total of $31,007.

The per EDU assessment will be calculated on a sliding scale.  Thus a 2,500 square foot house would be charged for 2 EDUs.   In my case, my house was built in 2009, with a compliant septic system that cost me $30,000.  My home did not need any zoning variances to be built, and the town limited me to a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house based on the septic capacity of the lot.  The EDUs however are based on square footage of the home, not bathrooms or typical occupancy, which are also metrics allowed by state guidelines.  My EDU calculation comes to 2.5, thus my betterment assessment comes to $62,500.  Along with the $6,000 connection fee, my total assessment comes to $68,500.   This doesn’t include the actual cost of connecting to the main, which estimated at $100 per linear foot brings me into the neighborhood of $80,000.

All this for a newly built home with a state of the art septic system.

Furthermore, these per EDU cost estimates have been quickly escalating, and there is no assurance that they will not go higher.  The referendum is for the bond issue only–the cost per homeowner is not fixed by the current agreement.  As the town has made it clear that 100% of the town’s share of the sewer project will be paid by the residents of Sound View only, and all future costs will also be passed on in full to these homeowners, the exposure of Sound View property owners is unlimited.

Finally, in the likelihood that other beach communities down the line such as White Sands require sewers, or the potential Halls Road developments, Sound View homeowners have received no assurance that they will not also be on the hook for those.  We have been told that these will be considered on a “project by project” basis, and the costs for those potential sewer projects may be paid by the town as a whole, thus obligating Sound View property owners not only to pay 100% of the town’s share at Sound View, but also a share of the costs for projects elsewhere in town.

The concern of Sound View residents is well founded.

Sincerely,

Jim Lampos,
Old Lyme.

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Comments

  1. The Connecticut General Statute Chapter 103, Municipal Sewage Systems, establishes the legal authority for Municipal Water Pollution Control Commissions. Sec. 7-249 of that Chapter, Assessment of Benefits, establishes the framework for the benefit assessment that include limits on those assessments and the method for appeal. The Connecticut Supreme Court further defined the limits in “Northeast Enter. v. Water Pol. Auth., 1991 Ct. Sup. 967 (Conn. Super. Ct. 1991).”

    You may want to start there.

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