Sprinkler systems in patio homes continues to be topic in Peters Township

Published Jul 29, 2014 at 8:56 am (Updated Jul 29, 2014 at 8:56 am)

Water was a recurring theme during a lengthy meeting of Peters Township Council July 28.

In previous meetings, several residents of Prestonwood and Hidden Brook developments have complained to council that fire-supression systems, often called sprinkler systems, have burst, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage to property. Many of the residents travel to Florida during the cold winter months, and the sprinkler systems have frozen and burst. Current township ordinances require sprinklers in certain commercial buildings and other residences, including patio homes – residences that are built close together.

Options have been presented to the homeowners, including installing a system that incorporates antifreeze. However, those systems can be expensive. Problems with installation and proper insulation have also been discussed.

In an effort to assist the property owners, council presented a draft ordinance that would permit property owners to disconnect the sprinklers if the residents were to be out of town a month or more. However, the draft ordinance had certain requirements the property owners, mainly those in the Hidden Brook plan, did not like. If enacted, the new ordinance would require the property owners to notify the surrounding neighbors by registered mail that the system was being turned off, to notify their insurance carrier, to notify the township and fire department, and to post a notice in a window.

Township Solicitor John Smith said the ordinance was written using guidelines from the National Fire Council.

Township Manager Michael Silvestri said there are several patio-style developments in the township. However, the only complaints were from owners from Hidden Brook and Prestonwood.

No action was taken with discussion expected at a later meeting. No date was announced.

In other action, council:

• Heard complaints from Linda and Paul Yenerall, 107 Edgar Lane, regarding excessive erosion along a stream in their rear yard. Linda Yeneral said the family is losing about 10 inches of land each year and a once gentle slope from the yard to the stream is now a 6-foot drop.

• Heard a complaint from Shannon Dzikowski about a drainage issue that floods her family’s home at 141 Woods Lane. In both cases, council agreed to add the problems to the list of storm-water management complaints in the township.

• Discussed concerns with property owners regarding tree cutting by First Energy Corp. along electric lines. Council agreed to send a letter to the company. Several of the property owners spoke of filing a class action lawsuit.

• Accepted the resignation of Dorothy Schwerha from the township’s Parks and Recreation Board. She has served since 2006. A motion to appoint a replacement was tabled.

• Tabled was a request by Hamlet of Springdale 3 to include a swimming pool to be owned by the Homeowners’ Association.

• Briefly discussed plans for a new amphitheater in Peterswood Park that will include a roof. The current bids range from $800,000 to $900,000, with $850,000 budgeted. Silvestri said council hopes to have a plan in place to apply for Local Shares funding from gambling disbursements due in October.

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