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Proposed wastewater plant faces resistance

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    The proposed site plan for the Twilight Park wastewater treatment facility.
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    Twilight Park wastewater treatment facility proposed site plans, along with renderings of street views.
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    Alan Tavenner, of Delaware Engineering, going over the Twilight Park wastewater treatment facility project during a public hearing at a Hunter planning board meeting Tuesday.
December 6, 2017 - 11:30 pm

HUNTER — The proposed new wastewater treatment facility for Twilight Park caused a stir with Hunter residents during a public hearing Tuesday night.

This was the first hearing on the project, for which the Hunter Town Planning Board has taken lead agency.

The greatest concern about the facility for residents is the visual impact it would have coming up the mountain and into the town.

Ellen Mulroy-Brower, of Hunter, is an adjoining landowner to the Twilight Park Property.

“They want everything to be a certain way when you come up the mountain,” she said. “And now, it’s going to be a wastewater facility.”

A private community made up of 92 cottages in the town of Hunter, Twilight Park’s wastewater system has been in existence since the 1920s, according to an engineer’s report from Delaware Engineering.

Twilight Park is under a consent order after being issued violations by the state Department of Environmental Conservation because its waste removal was not in compliance with today’s standards, Planning Board Chair Sarah Killourhy said.

In 2016, the state and Twilight Park reached agreement that by a certain time, the wastewater system had to be improved.

Killourhy said the project will be paid for by the Twilight Cottagers Homeowners Association and the cost will be around $2 million.

The site includes the installation of a gravity-operated sewer, a treatment system, septic system and small maintenance building off Sunset Park Road on Route 23A — a designated scenic byway.

The Scenic Byway Committee has been notified of the proposed wastewater treatment facility and is awaiting renderings from more vantage points to give input.

Because it’s situated near two locations on the National Register of Historic Places, the proposed site must undergo specific state environmental reviews and other assessments.

The Twilight Park Historic District was added to the national register in 2007. The Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls is a nonprofit organization that contains several buildings on its campus. One of the structures is a surviving branch of the Ulster & Delaware train station that was built in 1913 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The proposal is under state Historic Preservation Office review, Killourhy said, adding several other agencies are reviewing it and have approved it.

George Bain, of Tannersville, thinks the decision to put the facility there is faulty.

“I’d rather not have a wastewater treatment facility be along the highway as I drive up the mountain — I don’t think that’s a good place for it,” Bain said. “I don’t know the topography and the geology of the lands, but it seems to me that sitting it right at the corner of an intersection right on the main road, I think, is a poor choice for our town.”

Beverly Feml, of Hunter, thinks the facility on this site will harm the town — especially since Route 23A is a scenic byway.

“I don’t think the building or any part of this system should be up on the road, visible on 23A,” she said. “We’ve done a lot of stuff to make 23A beautiful and I think we need to reserve that because once it’s in, it won’t go away.”

The temporary bridge on Sunset Park Road will be used in order to complete the project.

The single-lane, military-grade bridge has no weight restrictions and is expected to be installed next spring to replace the existing bridge that has been deteriorating for years and had an 8-ton limit.

Construction is set to begin in March and continue through May 2018, with the system start-up date in June.

The public hearing for the proposed Twilight Park Wastewater Treatment Facility will remain open for the Hunter planning board meeting scheduled for Jan. 2, 2018.

To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2309 or email afiducia@registerstar.com.