Huntertown officials have extended a land purchase option on the Hathaway Road property where they hope to build a new wastewater treatment plant.
At a special meeting Tuesday, Town Council members also agreed to hire special attorneys to review the current plant proposal, which now is in the hands of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The six-month extension on the land purchase option will cost the town $5,000, but town attorney Dave Hawk said it is unavoidable.
We held a public hearing with IDEM on March 26 and public comment time expired in April, but there still has been no decision (by IDEM), Hawk said. We did not think it would take this long.
Almost a year ago, the Huntertown Town Council paid $1,000 for a purchase option on a 26-acre site owned by William Snaufer at 2214 and 2232 Hathaway with plans to build an $11.2 million wastewater treatment plant on the site.
The option gave the town until March 1 to buy the site for $393,500, but when they had not received approval from IDEM by April, the option was extended until Aug. 28.
Huntertown hopes to proceed with building its own sewage plant and break ties with Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has provided the town with sewer service since 1988.
Further complicating the matter are new state regulations regarding sewage treatment plants that became effective June 28, Hawk said. The towns original proposal will have to be reviewed and brought into compliance with the new rules, and that will require hiring attorneys who work regularly with environmental laws, Hawk said.
The council unanimously agreed to hire Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, a firm from Indianapolis with expertise in environmental law. The law firm will be paid hourly, Hawk said, and it was uncertain how much work will be involved. Hourly fees for the firm are between $150 and $395.