Perhaps it is irony or maybe just coincidence. Then again, perhaps there is truth in the thought that the more things change the more they stay the same.

The first and last meetings reported in the Chadds Ford Post from the former township building on Station Way Road were those of the Chadds Ford Township Sewer Authority.

In that first meeting, from October 2001, Sewer Authority members struggled with the need to tell residents in the Longview/Summit area that those whose property was within 150 feet of a newly installed sewer line needed to pay a tapping fee of almost $12,000 to connect to that line.

In the final meeting at Station Way Road, as reported in this week's edition of the Post, the authority again faced the need to determine a tapping fee for a project. This time, however, the decision was delayed.

While the Chadds Ford Sewer Authority made no decision, it was good to see the group moving ahead with plans to get public sewers installed. What is and has been problematic is the law requiring people to hook up to public sewers while their on-lot systems still work, simply because the lines run within 150 feet of their homes. That is a requirement of the Second Class Township Code.

Another part of the dilemma is that tapping fees in Chadds Ford Township are high. The last two projects brought connection fees of close to $11,000 and $12,000. Other municipalities and townships have tapping fees half that, and lower. Making matters more awkward for property owners is that the fee is required in one lump sum.

But consideration of sewer needs ties in with the supervisors wanting to update the Chadds Ford Township Comprehensive Plan.

Though many residents still balk and bristle over the thought of more development, it will happen. It's simply a matter of when and where.

A comprehensive plan can guide development into areas best suited for the benefit of the township as a whole. And those areas will require adequate infrastructure, and that includes public water and sewer.

Myriad questions arise.

Can the township guide development into those areas where failing septic systems already exist? This would have the benefit of sewer connection costs being spread out among more properties, thereby lowering the cost of the per-property tapping fee.

Is it possible to allow residents with functioning septic systems to wait until those systems fail before forcing them to connect to public sewers? Can sewer projects be planned far enough in advance that homeowners have a large enough lead time to better prepare for the tapping fee, either through their own savings or a means of prepaying the fee to the township on an installment basis?

These are questions that should be considered and discussed. If the ideas they suggest are without merit, they should be discarded. But if they are useful -- and legal -- then perhaps infrastructure and development can proceed with fewer hassles.

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