Wednesday September 26, 2012

LENOX -- The town is close to wrapping up negotiations with Eastover Resort for the hotel's connection to the municipal sewer system in return for its construction of a pump station and piping along East Street.

The Select Board heard an update on the proposal from Town Manager Gregory Federspiel at its recent meeting.

Eastover would cover the cost of the project -- about $1.2 million -- instead of paying a connection fee to the town. Federspiel estimated that the connection fee would be $850,000.

Once the project is completed, 35 to 40 homes in the adjacent East Street residential neighborhood would be able to connect to town sewer for the first time.

Pipe extensions would be possible to additional neighborhoods, Federspiel said, as long as the capacity of the pump station could be increased.

An agreement for the project will be submitted to the Select Board for approval at an upcoming session.

"It would meet their existing needs, but would allow for some expansion at the resort," said Federspiel. Any expansion would be subject to the town's normal permitting process.

Public Works Superintendent Jeffrey Vincent has endorsed the project, pointing out that it enables the town to hook up more paying customers to the municipal sewer system. "The higher revenue stream could be put to good use in terms of our future needs for upgrades," Federspiel stated.

The new pump station and pipe along East Street would be owned by the town. Additional capacity at the pump station should be subject to a time limit, he added, so if the resort does not need it for future expansion, the town could tie in for use by nearby residential customers.

Selectman David Roche raised the question of a potential future subdivision of 30 homes or more on the resort property and whether residents of such a development would be required to pay a connection fee to the town sewer system.

"That's an interesting and good question," replied Federspiel, who added that the town is putting some pressure on Eastover to seal the deal so sewer pipes can be constructed ahead of next summer's projected repaving of East Street in the resort's vicinity.

Engineering studies by Foresight Land Services of Pittsfield would precede installation of the pipes next spring.

Eastover's responsibility is to build the system, "then we sign off on it and accept it," said Federspiel. The town reserves the right to reject it and call for alterations.

Fowler and Roche stressed the need for the project to be bonded to protect the town financially in case the resort encountered any financial problems during the construction.

Federspiel said he would return to the negotiating table with Eastover's owners and report back to the Select Board with any revisions of the plan.

To reach Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6247.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto.