Philmont finds water won’t flow uphill… cheaply

PHILMONT–Ray Jurkowski, the engineer for the village, told the Village Board last week that Summit Heights developer Alfred Mattikow is “not moving forward with phase 2B” of the project.

This means that far fewer lots will be developed than originally proposed, which leaves both the developer and the village wondering what to do with some expensive equipment that was purchased for the housing development.

There were 40 to 50 homes at the top of Summit Street before any work was done on the Summit Heights development. During the planning for Summit Heights, engineers discovered that certain aspects of the system that delivers water to these residents were not up to state Department of Health code.

The upper part of Summit Street does not have adequate water pressure without booster pumps. These pumps are in place, but there is no back-up generator to keep them running should they lose power.

Mr. Mattikow was responsible for purchasing and installing new booster pumps and a back-up generator.

At the June 9 Village Board meeting Mr. Jurkowski also said that the inadequate water pressure means that those 40 or 50 homes do not have the required “fire flow,” should there be a fire in that area. Mr. Mattikow had also purchased a fire pump that would bring the system up to code.

Mr. Jurkowski said Mr. Mattikow is willing to turn over the generator, booster pump and fire pump to the town in exchange for one building permit for a model home. The total value of the equipment that Mr. Mattikow would potentially turn over to the town is about $175,000. The model home would be used to try to sell 13 of Mr. Mattikow’s already existing lots, but the plan to develop a total of 69 total lots has been abandoned.

“Quite honestly,” said Mr. Jurkowski, installing this equipment “would bring the village from out of compliance to in compliance.”

Trustee Douglass Cropper asked for an estimate on the cost of the electrical work required to install the equipment left behind by Mr. Mattikow. Mr. Jurkowski replied that he believed it would cost about $77,000 for the installation.

A discussion ensued between trustee Larry Ostrander and Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons. “So we’re going to buy back something that should’ve been done already?” asked Mr. Ostrander.

Mr. Fitzsimmons answered that Mr. Mattikow “could take the $175,000 worth of stuff and sell it.”

“He should have had to do this before he even put one lot in up there. He wiggled his way around this for 15, 20 years,” said Mr. Ostrander.

“Just to be blunt,” said Mr. Fitzsimmons, “he’s licking his wounds and leaving the scene of the accident.”

“That’s not how it seems to me,” said Mr. Ostrander. “Seems like we’re licking our wounds—we’re licking his wounds.”

At this point, Mr. Cropper asked Mr. Jurkowski: “If we were to accept the equipment, would we have to put it in immediately?”

Mr. Jurkowski reiterated that the houses that are already there are not up to code, so equipment would have to be purchased and installed anyway.

“How are you feeling about having to fight a fire up there?” Mr. Cropper asked Fire Chief Mark Beaumont.

“Not good at all,” replied Mr. Beaumont.

Trustee Brian Johnson said that one of the former fire chiefs “is still the only one who knows where the valve is to turn on the water.”

 

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