Sewer Districts Approved for Riverwoods, Yeshiva

After hearing concern from Riverwoods residents over possible cost share for operation and maintenance, town learns that the data is non-binding and part of a planning document.

At its special meeting on Thursday morning, the New Castle Town Board approved the creation of new sewer districts for the Riverwoods condo complex and the Yeshiva Farm Settlement, clearing a major hurdle for the northern town communities as they seek to get sewers.

The board, which unanimously approved the formations, held the special meeting after hearing concerns at its Tuesday regular meeting from Riverwoods residents over allocation of the operation and maintenance share of their complex. Riverwoods, along with Yeshiva and the nearby Random Farms subdivision, will each have a common trunk line for their sewers and will each pay towards the cost. The hearing was continued to Thursday because of a March 1 cut off for the districts to be part on the next property assessment roll.

The data in question left Riverwoods with a 40.66-percent share, despite the fact that its flow amount was only calculated at around 20,000 gallons per day, or 21.05 percent among the three communities. The board adjourned its public hearings for Riverwoods and Yeshiva until Thursday morning so there could be a better understanding of the data.

It turns out that the allocation data is non-binding for the communities, Town Attorney Clinton Smith said. The numbers are part of a map planning document, which outlines things such as assets and boundaries.

“It is meant to be a general plan for the operation of the district," he said.

One point of contention, however, was the methodology for calculating the shares. It is based on what are called IAU units, used to reconcile differences between the three communities in terms of their housing units and population density. 

Donald Mahaney, who oversees an existing on-site sewage treatment plant that Riverwoods and Yeshiva currently used - the diversion would bring the sewage to a Yonkers plant - called the IAU formula flawed, and worried that it could be used for determining sewer district taxes for the 2014 town budget. Instead, he called for the town board to use actual flow data, which exists for Riverwoods and Yeshiva because they use a meter. He also planned to write a letter to the town board about the matter.

Town Board members assured Mahaney that they would arrive at a reasonable outcome for calculating the taxes, and were receptive to using actual flow numbers as Mahaney suggested.

Reached for comment after the approval vote, Mahaney felt that the town board was reasonable.

The public hearing for Riverwoods took up much of the meeting's time, while the hearing for Yeshiva was brief. Hershel Reich, an administrator for Yeshiva, told the town board that he was interested in having the settlement pick up intra-district costs for within its boundaries as a way to save money.

A sewer district for Random Farms was previously created.

The sewer diversion project will involve extending a county trunk line, which currently stops near Route 100 in the Briarcliff Manor area, up by the Route 133 corridor. The purpose of the diversion is to move sewage away from the New Croton Reservior's watershed, to eliminate a potential threat to New York City's drinking water. The project's funding aspect still needs to be hammered out with Westchester County and the city's Department of Environmental Protection.


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