A proposed planning venture involving county government and the towns of Whitestown and New Hartford has buoyed hopes for a solution to perennial flooding problems along lower sections of Sauquoit Creek.
Under the proposal, Oneida County would help update master plans for both towns at the same time and in the process, a comprehensive land use plan for the Sauquoit Creek basin would be developed.
This is the only sensible approach to problems that plague the watershed. The entire basin must be considered as a whole because developments upstream can have a significant impact on what happens to the water downstream...
You didn't see the article?
Perhaps that's because you weren't living in the area in 1978 or you just don't remember that far back. The above was a part of an Observer Dispatch Opinion on February 6, 1978...40 years ago! My, how far we have come...NOT!
On July 6, 1977 Local Law No. 8-1977 was adopted as part of the Town of New Hartford Code. Part of that local law includes § 102-6. Formation of districts.
The owner/developer shall petition the Town Board for the creation of the following districts or extensions thereto if none are in existence for the development:Problem is, the town board has never held developers feet to the fire. Some districts were created and never charged for flooding clean-up; maintenance; and/or purchase of property and some districts were never created because the town board never followed through on the requirements of Town Code 102 for district formation/extension.
- Sanitary Sewer District.
- Stormwater Drainage District.
- Water Supply District.
- Lighting District, if necessary.
That left town residents as well as residents of both villages paying for two bond issues and several thousand of dollars of budgeted expenses to correct flooding issues each year. Actually, town law excludes villages from paying town drainage costs, but up to this year, New Hartford included them anyway.
For instance, as part of the D.E.C. wetlands agreement with Sangertown, they were required to petition the town to create a drainage district "to assure the maintenance of drainage facilities at the site"...they never did.
The developers of Sylvan Way were required to extend their drainage district in 2005 before the town would accept their road...again, they never did. I suspect the road is maintained as a town road anyway.
And the band played on... So anxious to get more development as a means of getting more taxes, property and sales, so that the town could evolve into a major player in the county, that each town board never bothered enforcing New Hartford's own local laws which were supposedly created to "regulate persons and property for the purpose of securing the public health, safety, welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the municipality and its inhabitants".
The thinking now is if we divide the whole town outside the villages into three (3) drainage districts whereby everyone has to pay to do what developers were supposed to do all along, that will fix all or most of the flooding problems in the Town of New Hartford.
Sure it will! Just ask the town board...they are in the process of creating a new plan "for the good of the community". First though, they have to dissolve the dozen or so drainage districts that were created and never used.
Here is a pdf copy of Town Code 102