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A number of residents of the Hidden Ponds housing development within the borough spoke out during the regular monthly council meeting this week seeking answers about who would pay for maintenance of a pumping station for their homes.
The dozen or so homes were built around 2005 along Alyse Court, Ashley Court and Lauren Lane off Davis Road. They lie behind the apartment complex that sits across Clements Bridge Road from the Mister Softee Depot (see map).
Residents told council they believed the borough was responsible for the pumping station and sewers that serve their community, just as it is responsible for other sewers in the borough. They noted they have not paid for maintenance of the facilities since moving in and were never informed by the developers that they would have to pay for it as part of their homeowners’ association until early this year.
The HOA previously cost residents $100 per year and contained what residents repeatedly referred to as “boilerplate” language regarding shared costs for lawn mowing and regulations about not parking RVs on their lawns. The sudden addition of pumping station maintenance — including a licensed engineer and pipe maintenance — could increase the HOA costs by thousands of dollars per year.
“How was this ever approved by the borough?” Realtor and Hidden Ponds resident Kathy McDonald asked, noting that residents were never informed about any of this and even having a lawyer review the documents before the homes were sold likely would not have brought the hidden cost to light.
Council President Kirk Popiolek told residents the borough was examining its legal obligations in the case but also was trying to determine what it must do ethically to balance the needs of this neighborhood with those of the entire borough.
Noted that the developer had paid all pumping station costs up to this point, Popiolek wondered: “Why would the town be responsible if the developer had previously paid for it?”
Mayor Robert Klaus said the borough was performing a review at this time and a recommendation would come.
Any issue involving homes is an emotional one. If any resident would like to share his or her thoughts on this issue (including to correct any inaccuracies I might have in my post, above), please feel free to do so in the comment section below. I invite members of the Hidden Ponds HOA to write a more detailed explanation of their position, if they would like to, which I will post separately to give it more prominence on BarringtonBulletin.com.