HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — The township is moving to repair a major flooding problem on the Black Horse Pike.
At Tuesday's Township Committee meeting Solicitor Bob Sandman took testimony from Township Engineer Bob Smith on the basins at the Hamilton Commons shopping center on the Black Horse Pike. Flooding from problematic basins onto the pike has been an issue for multiple years and the committee has worked to get the developer DDR, of Beachwood Ohio, to fix it.
Smith said the flooding creates a hazard for motorists and pedestrians and sometimes causes lanes on the pike to be closed.
Smith agreed with Sandman's suggestion that the basins are failing.
"They are not operating as intended," he said.
After the officials discussed the problems over the years and the inability for the developer to fix them the committee authorized Sandman to notify the company that controls more than $550,000 in performance and maitenance bonds on the property to hire a contractor to make the repairs.
Sandman said he will start the process, which could take one to two months, and will invite representatives from the developer to speak at a future meeting to discuss their progress.
He advised the committee that future measures could involve filing a lawsuit against DDR and/or having the township cite the owners for violations of ordinances.
Cyndi Rovinsky, property manager at the complex, said the developer has been in constant contact with Smith on these issues and does plan to make the repairs. She said the developer had done maintenance on some of the other basins and was not told by the township that the basins next to the pike were such an issue to the governing body.
"We were not given a priority list," she said. "If we knew (that basin) was one of the biggest issues we would have worked to make the town happy."
Rovinsky declined to comment after the meeting.
But Deputy Mayor Charles Cain said frustration on this issue over the years is the reason it has gotten to this point.
"It shouldn't take the Township Committee to tell you as a property manager which one to tackle first," he told Rovinsky. "When you have (water) spill over to a major highway, to me that's the one."
Also at the meeting, the Township Committee discussed a grant application to the state Department of Environmental Protection for $500,352 to install trees on the Atlantic City Expressway to replace vegetation that was cleared during the recent widening project.
The township would need to develop a community management forestry plan before it could receive any grant money.
The grant would pay $300 a tree, which would mean about 1,700 trees, but Administrator Mike Jacobs said that is way more than the township could plant.
The committee also approved its plan for road improvements for next year. The improvements to the various local roads will cost about $1.4 million.
Jacobs also said a paperwork error cost the township a state grant for recycling. Jacobs said the township failed to apply for the state Department of Environmental Protection's Recycling Tonnage grant by the deadline because the person who usually handles the application had been laid off. The township received about $26,000 the year before, he said.
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