News and Tribune

March 22, 2013

Clarksville threatens Colgate property owners with fines

Colgate owners could be fined up to $2,500 per day

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — The Clarksville Town Council gave the go-ahead to threaten fines against the owners of the former Colgate property for stormwater outflow issues.

Town officials claim that between April 1, 2012, and Jan. 21, 2013, 424,794 gallons of stormwater — the equivalent of the output of 21 private residences — have flowed from the property into the town-owned system despite the fact that the property has its own stormwater-treatment plant. 

“We have had a flow meter on there because the officials at Colgate have stated that they have their own sewer system and nothing’s coming to the town of Clarksville,” said Rebecca Lockard, the attorney for the town’s planning and zoning department. “So we put a flow meter on there and actually, their stormwater, their clean water, is running through their sanitary system into our treatment plant.”

The town council gave its consent to Lockard to draft and send a letter to Boston Development Group, which owns the property, demanding that the group cap its lines and install new sewer lines so that only wastewater goes into the town’s wastewater treatment plant. If the modifications are not made in 15 days, the maximum fine of $2,500 per day would be issued, Lockard said. 

Dr. Jayesh Sheth, the managing partner with Boston Development Group, says that this is the first he’s heard of fines being threatened against the group, and says that if stormwater is flowing into the town’s sewer lines, it has been doing so for a long time. 

“This is a property in which nothing has changed,” Sheth said. “So we have not done anything to do that. Whatever has been happening has been happening for years.” 

The group is paying for stormwater and wastewater to the town, in addition to paying $50,000 per year to operate its own stormwater plant, Sheth said. 

“We are spending $150,000 on all of this nonsense, which whatever [is going on], it has been going on for 85 years,” Sheth said. 

The decision to give Lockard the go-ahead to send the development group the letter was not unanimous. Councilman John Gilkey said he opposed the action. 

“My comment to the council was that for years, the council had indicated they want to use funding out of the South End TIF to facilitate redevelopment of that property, and it does not appear that we are working in good faith with those people,” Gilkey said.