Hinsdale voters agree to compensate Camp Taconic for sewer work

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HINSDALE — Settling an almost three-year-old lawsuit, town meeting voters have agreed to compensate the Camp Taconic ownership for sewer work on town-owned infrastructure the business allegedly funded.

A roughly 4-1 voice vote on Wednesday will allow the transfer of $13,400 from the Camp Taconic Engineering Account to pay for the town's share in the lawsuit. The camp ownership will receive another $50,000 from the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, the town's insurance company.

Jill Kleinman, of Glenwood, Conn., is listed as the president of Shadow Lake Associates, owners of Camp Taconic, in posted Massachusetts Corporations Division records.

Larry Turner, the town's sewer administrator, stood up to defend the settlement after a persistent minority voiced objection.

"We have finally reached an amiable agreement that both the town and the camp can live with," Turner said.

Sewer troubles over the years came as a result of nearby residential and camp use overburdening the system, as well as feminine hygiene products and other items disposed in camp toilets clogging the pipes.

The conflict and lawsuit came because the majority of the sewer infrastructure inside Camp Taconic is town-owned, and, the camp argued, town responsibility.

The town's attorney in the lawsuit, David S. Lawless, said Camp Taconic "have provided us the documentation to support the concept that they have spent approximately $90,000 maintaining these pump chambers and pumps."

The settlement will also see ownership of the Camp Taconic sewer infrastructure transferred to the business.

The lawsuit, Lawless said, "also calls also calls for the camp's owners to take over most if not all of the infrastructure at the camp. They will be responsible for all maintenance going forward."

Residents opposed to the town payment cited difficulty in obtaining an Hinsdale-funded engineer's report assessing whether the area sewer system could withstand increased camp usage as well as nearby residential usage.

"Why can't we make that report public?" asked resident Earl Peck.

Resident David Kokindo was confident that it could not support the extra usage, based on engineering reports dating back to his term on the Select Board.

He also objected to the settlement on the grounds that the camp was supposed to prevent pipe-clogging materials from ever getting down the drains.

"We always told them if anything went wrong, 'That's a problem of yours.'"

Lawless said the settlement was "very time sensitive," adding, "I don't have a crystal ball, but my estimation is the most likely outcome of not settling this case will be that it goes to trial."

Residents at the meeting voted strongly in favor.

The body also approved a number of other spending measures — most notably $175,000 to finance the installation of new water meters — and cash transfers on Wednesday.

Also at the meeting, a town treasurer who spent numerous hours of unpaid labor correcting a clerical error was compensated to the tune of $6,187 amid sparse opposition.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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