By PHIL NOBILE
The development of a new drainage district in a small Purchase community is the first step toward bringing flood mitigation issues to an end as the process moves forward.
Unanimously approved by the Town Council after a public hearing at its June 5 meeting, Harrison officials set plans in motion to create a new drainage district in the Lincoln Lane neighborhood of Purchase, which would consist of 10 homes.
According to Town Engineer Michael Amodeo, drainage issues from a bridge on Lincoln Lane have led to pools of water accumulating on the street as well as icing in the cold weather.
“The Lincoln Lane residents wanted to address the situation on the road and address some poor drainage that was proposing some hazards,” Amodeo said.
Therefore the neighbors brought forward the idea of creating the special district.
A drainage district is a specific mapped region that pays for its own drainage issues and needed fixes via taxes on the district itself, not the entire municipality.
Although no specific measures to mitigate the flooding issues were announced as of press time, improvements like new drainage infrastructure via new piping and inlets, pavement improvements in certain spots along Lincoln Lane, and repairs to the bridge could all be options to ease the concerns, according to Amodeo.
Over the coming year, potential efforts call for surveying, engineer evaluations, drainage and bridge maintenance and repairs, engineering designs, and construction totaling $66,200, according to Amodeo.
The cost for any potential mitigation project will be applied only to residents in the newly formed district—a point the residents’ attorney, Daniel Laub of Cuddy & Feder LLP, which represents the residents on Lincoln Lane, stressed.
“Obviously there are drainage issues in the area that we are looking to have rectified with the formation of a special district,” Laub said. “Part of the benefit here is that the district will be able to have the drainage captured and controlled in its flow and speed and direction, meaning existing infrastructure won’t wash away. The important point is the district will bear the costs; it will be special taxation upon the members of the district at no general cost to the Town of Harrison.”
Amodeo added special districts like the newly formed one in the Lincoln Lane neighborhood could have the town bond the money for the project to front the costs initially, which would eventually be paid back through special taxation in the district over time.
According to Deputy Village Attorney Chris Cipolla, the town, which approved just the formation of the district at the last meeting, will have to approve bonding for the mitigation efforts at its June 19 meeting.
The forming of a new district isn’t a regular occurrence, according to Cipolla, who added it arises on private roads like Lincoln Lane primarily, and that the work is usually undertaken with the district petitioning the town and
ultimately paying for the costs of needed studies and for any potential projects themselves.
According to Amodeo, residents of the Lincoln Lane district approached the town early last year seeking assistance for a new district. With the district now formed, the engineer said he expects any design, bidding and construction phases to last another year, and hoped any subsequent work, including designs and construction, would be complete come mid-2015.