Selectmen agree to split cost of new pipe

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BEACON FALLS — A 103-foot length of drainage pipe at 113 and 118 South Main St. will soon be replaced with the town and property owner Mario Trepca splitting the bill.

The Board of Selectmen voted on Monday to share the cost of replacing the pipe with L&R Trepca, LLC, which is owned by Trepca.

According to the bid the board received it will cost approximately $9,500 to replace the pipe.

The pipe, which is owned by the town, takes the storm water from Johnson Street, which is just north of the properties. Trepca had originally planned to replace the upper 59 feet of the pipe since a retaining wall he will place on that property would most likely crush the existing pipe, potentially leading the flooding in the area.  

However, when he took his plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this year, Trepca was told that he would need to replace the lower 44 feet of the pipe as well.

“My client was sort of blindsided by this requirement of Planning and Zoning,” attorney Frederick Stanek told the board. “All of a sudden Planning and Zoning asked that the 44 feet be replaced, which is an additional expense, also requiring the construction of a second manhole.”

Stanek said this new pipe is an improvement to the town and Trepca’s property, so Trepca is willing to share the cost.

Selectman Christopher Bielik said if the pipe fails the cost would have to be completely handled by the town, since it already owns the pipe.

Selectman David D’Amico was concerned that if the town went forth with splitting the cost with Trepca it would have to do it for everybody.

“You’re setting a precedent for everyone else who comes into town and does the same thing in the industrial park,” D’Amico said.

D’Amico suggested the town give Trepca the length of pipe, which costs approximately $10 per foot, rather than splitting the entire cost.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said because of the bend in the pipe the town can’t even use a camera to check the condition of the pipe. He was concerned if the board voted not to go forward with this, it would become the town’s problem very soon.

“It’s our pipe on his land. It’s a $10,000 fix that’s coming sooner or later that we can get fixed for $5,000 today,” Smith said.

Smith said action would not set a precedent since the circumstances surrounding this pipe were so unique.

As of the meeting the board had only received one bid. It asked Trepca to get a bid on the work and planned to send the work back out to bid to see if more companies would bid now that the work would definitely be done.