CLARKS SUMMIT — Members of Clarks Summit Borough Council discussed plans to address a stormwater issue that has become a safety concern during its regular monthly meeting Aug. 3.
“We talked at our work session about our concerns with how the state was addressing the issues and responsibilities of stormwater in right of ways, and the issue has escalated,” Clarks Summit Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe said.
Bill Tobin, manager of OK Tire & Auto Service Center, 621 S. State St., voiced his concerns regarding a safety issue at the business.
“In front of OK Tire, there is a storm drain that runs into a basin,” he said. “The pipe going into that basin is rotted away and all the dirt is gone underneath the blacktop. I’m concerned that somebody is going to be walking and the blacktop is not going to hold them or a car is going to sink into the hole.”
According to Kehoe, PennDOT informed the borough they are responsible for dealing with the issue.
“The specific problem the borough has is that the storm drain the state put in to control the water off their road is on private property,” Kehoe said. “The state may have had easements at the time they installed the system, but we don’t have the easements or the designs of the plan. We also don’t have the financial backing to remedy the problem.”
According to Tobin, he noticed the hole in the blacktop begin to form about a month ago.
“The issue is that the state is not taking responsibility for stormwater within their own road and an inequitable situation has arisen because they do take responsibility when the road is in a township,” councilman Vince Cruciani said. “If the state road is in a borough, they commandeer the borough government to fix the problem.”
According to Kehoe, an email sent by Allen Jones of PennDOT’s Clarks Summit office stated that in urbanized areas, PennDOT only maintains from curb to curb, and any drainage that runs underground within borough limits is the responsibility of the borough.
“Our concern is once the borough does something, we’re accepting responsibility,” Kehoe said. “On the other hand, it’s a dangerous situation and a safety issue.”
Kehoe added that members of the Clarks Summit Department of Public Works placed cones around the area of the hole at OK Tire at the request of Jones.
Kehoe planned to set up an executive session between borough council and Jones to discuss the issue. The borough also drafted a letter to send to Senator John Blake and State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich.
In other business:
• Members of borough council voted, 6-0, to appoint Shannon Brown to replace Len Wesolowski on the borough’s planning commission.
• Members of borough council voted, 6-0, to install a 100-watt streetlight with a shield on Bissell Street.
• Members of borough council voted, 5-0, to allocate 10 hours for solicitor Dan Mulhern to review to borough’s employee handbook and suggest changes to ensure it’s compliant with federal and state law.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.