Lot owner defends zoning request Jim Thorpe council to vote Thursday on septic changes near Mauch Chunk Lake
Ed Kanick was stunned to hear the rumors he was putting in a 100-lot subdivision along Lentz Trail in Jim Thorpe.
In reality, Kanick said, his proposed project would add a maximum of nine homes if fully developed in an effort to have his family living closer together.
At the heart of Kanick’s proposal, however, is a proposed borough zoning amendment that would allow him to install an on-lot septic system for his land near Mauch Chunk Lake.
Jim Thorpe requires all properties within a half-mile of the lake to connect to public sewer. The amendment would allow on-lot septic systems for properties 5 acres or larger that are at least 1,000 feet, but less than a half-mile, from Mauch Chunk Lake.
The borough will vote Thursday night on whether or not it would like to send the latest draft of the ordinance to its planning commission and the Carbon County Planning Commission.
“We want to do whatever is required to make sure that there are no problems,” Kanick said. “We’re not trying to pull anything over on anyone.”
Kanick said he has worked with his engineering firm, Keystone Consulting, to design backup drain fields and add multiple other precautionary measures in case something should fail.
“The system will have an alarm on it,” Kanick said. “We are going to have yearly inspections included under deed restrictions and mandatory system pump-outs every three years.”
Jim Thorpe’s sewage enforcement officer, Kanick said, did 14 septic tests on the property, passing all of them “with flying colors.”
“The sewage officer stated it was some of the nicest soil he’s seen to handle septic,” Kanick said. “The deed restrictions will have that only one house per lot will be allowed and they are irreversible. The lots are going to range from 5 to 10 acres so it’s not like we’re overdeveloping it like some are claiming we are.”
Two members of Jim Thorpe’s planning commission, Louis Hall and John McGuire, spoke out against the proposal in August, urging council to keep the buffer and protect its water source.
“I think council would be making a very bad decision by allowing the amendment,” Hall said. “There is enough acreage up there that this could turn into a 45-50 home subdivision. People much rather go to a lake in Pocono Mountains and not a 40- or 50-house subdivision.”
The closest lot to Mauch Chunk Lake, Kanick said, would be about 1,000 feet away.
Hall said pollution was being put into streams and other watercourses several decades ago, likely leading to the half-mile on-lot septic system buffer zone from the lake as more and more developments were popping up locally.
McGuire also advised against shrinking that buffer zone no matter how many acres the property may be.
“I realize we’re just an advisory committee, but we’re here for what we think is right for the town,” McGuire said. “I don’t know what this is all about but it’s not a good thing for nature.”
Council President Greg Strubinger said he sees the amendment as a way to limit the number of homes in the Mauch Chunk Lake area.
“Mr. Kanick is agreeing to put deed restrictions on which only allow him to build homes on lots of 5 acres or more. He has the right to extend the municipal sewer system up there and that could really increase the amount of homes he puts on there. We’d also be requiring pumping and inspections of the system every three years.”
According to Kanick, he’s spent more than $30,000 between his own engineer and the borough’s engineer to help “do things the right way.”
“We just want a few lots so that our family can all be together,” Kanick said. “That’s all we’re looking to do.”