Brad Dicken and Lisa Roberson, The Chronicle-Telegram
ELYRIA — The city of Elyria wants to build a sewer that would snake through part of Carlisle Township to connect to an undeveloped area on the southeast corner of state Route 57 and Chestnut Ridge Road in Eaton Township.
The problem, Lorain County commissioners said during their meeting Wednesday, is that the city hasn’t informed the residents along the path of the sewer who would be forced to tie into the sewer line if it came within 200 feet of their homes.
The city has asked the commissioners to allow it to use rights of way controlled by the county to get the line to the undeveloped land. The commissioners have not yet voted on whether to give the city permission to do so.
While the area where the new sewer would go is near the Chestnut Commons development, Acting City Engineer John Schneider said the city cannot bypass the current proposed route for the new sewer because the shopping plaza and nearby housing developments tap into an existing sanitary sewer off Ternes Road that is not equipped to handle anything else.
County Administrator Jim Cordes said the roughly 30 homeowners who would be forced to connect to the sewer, if it’s built, could face bills of between $7,000 and $10,000 to do so. That includes the lateral lines that the homeowners would be required to pay for under the terms of the proposal.
Commissioner Tom Williams said the residents need to be told about the possible bill they might receive if the sewer is built.
“It’s not right to just spring something on them, especially a $10,000 bill,” he said.
Cordes and the commissioners also said that they don’t know why the city wants to build the line to the area, although they think it might have to do with an as-yet-unannounced residential development project.
Carlisle Township Trustee Berry Taylor said township officials were unaware of the proposed sewer line until he heard about it at Wednesday’s commissioners meeting.
Schneider said the project in question is called the southeast interceptor sewer project and it came about because of the city’s long battle with the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District over which entity controlled the sewer rights in certain areas.
To end the lengthy legal fight, the city and LORCO forged an agreement that basically said they would respect each other’s facility planning areas.
“We are simply bringing our sewer service over to our service area to protect our service area,” Schneider said.
The new sewer is in the design phase and could be bid out as soon as the winter, he said.
The plan is to link the new sewer at a sewer interceptor at East River Road and Sandpiper Avenue. It would then travel along a portion of Dewhurst Road, through a private property easement and under state Route 57 to a parcel of undeveloped land on the southeast corner of 57 and Chestnut Ridge Road.
The owner has asked the city for sewer service and is paying an assessment for it, Schneider said. However, he could not provide any details on the project and referred further questions to Assistant City Engineer Aaron Klein, who was not in the office Wednesday.
Schneider said a business with above-ground commercial storage units is the only thing on the parcels, and as far as he knows the only plans for the area include more storage units.
“This is not about development, because to my knowledge there is no development planned for the area currently, but by putting the sewer there, it definitely opens it up for future development,” he said.
However, Schneider said he knows a new sewer has serious implications for residents who could be forced to tap into the sanitary sewer at a heavy cost. But he said it will not be Elyria, but rather the Lorain County Health Department, that would force residents to tap into the sewer.
State environmental regulations mandate that any property within 200 feet of a sewer must be connected to the line.
Schneider said the sewer project would affect property owners on a portion of East River Road and a portion of Dewhurst Road.