Friday, August 10, 2007

No Go on New Construction in Middletown with Sewers

**Update: Here is Jim Gillis' take on the topic. His article raises the same questions I've been wondering: how Newport could skirt Open Meeting laws & keep this quiet & why Middletown chose to keep it just as quiet.

I recall town officials saying that the Newport bann on Newport sewer connections would have NO effect on us (a bann on new connections in Newport until the discharge plant is in State compliance for 3 months which will mean cleaner harbor water for Newport). That's because Middletown only has MAIN connections to Newport & not seperate individual ones. So tying in would be no problem.
Well, that's not the case. Newport has some leverage to use in trying to get more $ to run the waste system which they own. For a long time Middletown has been discharging more into Newport's system than it contracted for. Uh-oh. There's the rub.
Let me help with with the procol for building new construction in Middletown. In order to get your permit, you are instructed to get permission to tie-in to the sewer system. Go over to Public Works & pay $1000. You also go to Newport Water & get permission to tie in. Then you apply for your permit (expensive by the way). When it's completed you request a Certificate of Occupancy. If it passes inspection you're home free. But the latter would be denied if you have no water, not to mention sewer.
However, that's not the exactly the process Jack Kane, Bldg. Inspector, explains in the article. Kane says that he will give you a permit to build, but then deny you a Certificate of Occupancy due to no water. Either way, you're stuck with a supposedly expensive buildable lot which you're paying taxes on, and no sewer. Uh-oh.
Septic system? Hah! Long process, expensive, you might not get approval, & you may not have enough land. Super uh-oh.
Thanks to Daily News reporter, Sean Flynn & Matt Sheley, for the heads-up. What's all this mean? Expect Middletown to cough up more $. Wouldn't be surprised to see some lawsuits, too. New housing units going up? I don't think so.
It's also curious that Newport evidently decided this in Executive session in April & never announced it. That's a no-no according to public meeting laws. But Middletown isn't complaining because, as I said before, Newport has all the cards. But some lot owners in Middletown may be upset. Shhh, let's keep everything quiet & under wraps. Outrageous! I wonder how much our Council knew about this (the Prez evidently knew) and why it was kept mum.
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