CHESHIRE -- Tenants of the town's mobile home park -- Pine Valley -- are wondering why needed infrastructure work has yet to be undertaken by owners, but state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) representatives Wednesday reported a project is scheduled for spring.
After litigation that held up a planned and permitted septic system upgrade at Pine Valley Motor Home Park since 2010 was resolved in October, tenants and town officials alike expected the project to begin shortly thereafter.
It did not, and explanations were not forthcoming from park owners Morgan Management.
"We're all pretty much disappointed about the situation," tenant Diane Goodrich said. "Even someone from the DEP called us to see if anything had been done. ... Once [Morgan Management] got the go-ahead, we all expected something would get started."
But DEP spokeswoman Catherine Skiba provided an update Wednesday. Asked if she'd heard news of coming construction, Skiba replied.
"Yes. ... We currently have a design in house and it's been approved. We anticipate to have additional communication with [Morgan Management] and as long as we see movement forward this spring, we'll continue to work with them."
Attempts to reach Morgan Management this week and last were unsuccessful.
The permitted design utilizes an above ground tank and covers 33 units, an improvement that in theory relieves the entire 95 unit park system, earlier subject to failure and flooding, much to the chagrin of tenants.
This state of affairs cost the company an extra $100,000 in pumping expenses from 2009 to 2010, which in part caused them to lobby for and receive a $65-per-month rent increase -- up from roughly $205 -- from town Selectmen, in late 2011.
Selectwoman Carol Francesconi noted officials' frustration with the delay and lack of explanation for it Tuesday.
"That rent increase can be revisited at any time," she said.
According to DEP documents, Pine Valley's septic system violates state sewer, waste management, water discharge and wastewater management regulations, causing the department to issue a consent order requiring that it be brought up to compliance in 2006.
Morgan Management had been working with DEP to meet this order until an abutter of the park filed suit against the company, objecting to its proposal of an above ground system.
Due to the litigation, which made any plans static, DEP subsequently granted Morgan an enforcement forbearance in 2010.
Tenants would still like a reply from the company. Despite fewer instances of septic failure and flooding of late, they remain uneasy.
"The pumping has stopped since [Morgan] got the rent increase," Goodrich said. "One of our tenants that had problems with hers every week asked why and the [representative] she spoke to claimed that the septic has fixed itself."
To reach Phil Demers, email