City settles drain pipe dispute with Harold's Garage

  • Northampton city hall

@amandadrane
Published: 8/17/2017 11:32:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Mayor David Narkewicz said he reached a resolution Thursday in a dispute between City Hall and the founding owner of Harold’s Garage over a drain line that runs under the longtime Pleasant Street business.

The city will take from owner Harold Willard the additional easement required to move forward with a planned $20 million affordable housing project, Narkewicz said, and in exchange will fix Willard’s illicit sewer connection at no cost to him.

He called the move a “friendly taking.”

“I’m really pleased with the outcome,” Narkewicz said, adding he’s happy the two parties could devise a way to move forward with Harold’s Garage in working order.

Willard, a 94-year-old crane operating legend, was not present at the City Council meeting during which Narkewicz announced the resolution.

Narkewicz said the city must move a drain line on the corner of Pleasant and Holyoke streets in order for Valley Community Development Corporation to build a 55-unit housing project on the old Northampton Lumber site — work for which the city has $1 million in MassWorks dollars to spend during this fiscal year. But in order to move the line, they’ll need to disrupt the northern corner of Willard’s property and procure an additional 20 feet of easement from him beyond the 10-foot easement in place from when the line was installed in the 1950s.

Complicating the issue was the discovery of an illicit connection, meaning raw sewage from Willard’s property currently feeds into the drain line and into the Connecticut River. Typically, Narkewicz said, such issues are fixed at the property owner’s expense.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.




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