WATCH: Palmer Elementary School Engineers’ Update Presentation

Below is a video and presentation Easton Area School District’s (EASD) engineers presented to the school board on January 7. During the presentation, it was plainly apparent that Palmer Township is taking advantage of EASD, forcing them to pay for an unnecessary stormwater system that won’t even improve the stormwater situation.

The EASD engineers said new collection areas with the proposed Palmer Elementary itself will significantly cut EASD’s stormwater runoff around the 1:31 mark and slide 21 below, so why should EASD taxpayers pay for solving a township problem? You can listen from the 1:11 mark this video here as they present the below PDF. Caption comments below are mine.

After the presentation concluded, a few moments worth noting.

  • Around 1:36:30, School Director Meg Sayago confirms with the engineers that the new school will greatly improve the stormwater situation as-is with no changes to the stormwater system at all. Around 1:41:30, she questions why is it EASD’s responsibility to improve the stormwater situation when the new school will cut in half the stormwater runoff if built?
  • From 1:51:00 to 1:56, I spoke directly to the board concerning my RTKL requests on the delayed Palmer Elementary construction since the emails have not directly involve them. I asked them directly to release the 235 redacted emails and, if not, to at least cooperate with the Office of Open Records attorney.
  • At 1:56:30 to 2:02, Eric Adams addressed the board. He suggested EASD submit a stormwater plan using the existing drainage system.  This would force Palmer Township’s engineer to put his reasons for rejecting the plan in writing. He asked the school board to vote against using eminent domain to take his property.  He also suggested EASD join his side of the land use appeal against the township. Lastly, he explained why he can no longer accept any money for the easement since he feels he would then be complicit in Palmer Township’s scheme to take advantage of the EASD board and taxpayers. He later summarized his thoughts in a formal letter which you can read here.
These are EASD elementary schools. The old Palmer building is much older than 1978, the dates shown are the last renovation dates for each school.
($65.6 million is not exactly chump change to homeowners paying property tax in EASD.)
Current picture of the site under construction.
Artist’s rendering of the proposed Palmer Elementary
The EASD stressed that Palmer Township told them “nothing will be approved using the bubbler.” To this day, Palmer Township Supervisors refuse to use the current stormwater system for reasons unknown but when pressed state that EASD does not have a plan currently submitted using the current bubbler and system which is technically true.
In 2018, the EASD engineers found a way Palmer Township would be OK with, but it required tearing up the Adams’ family backyard, running an aboveground sewer pipe through it, adding a large boulder field on the family’s land to slow the flow of water during storm events. The water would be discharged directly onto the family’s property, which will flood it.
Adams was forced to file a land use appeal in April 2019 to ward off the eminent domain threat.
Adams property in lower right corner. Route 22 is the southern border of the picture.
Picture of the bubbler – stormwater bubbles up from it and continues downhill.
The EASD engineers relayed reasons why this is not a good solution.
This option involved dumping all the stormwater into the Adams’ property and terraforming it with a giant swale. Around 1:27:30, Grice informed that swale that would be required would be huge, very expensive, and wouldn’t actually solve the problem.
Even if the easement is obtained via eminent domain, there are no plans to enlarge the PennDOT pipe under Greenwood Avenue (lower right where the yellow line ends), which means in a stormwater event a giant pool of water will collect there.
An important slide around 1:30:00 – EASD engineers confirmed that the new Palmer Elementary School will reduce the current stormwater footprint by 64% for a 2 year storm event and 51% for a 100 year storm event. This is with no change to the current stormwater system through a reduction in the impervious area and collection areas.
This was a fun conversation to listen to. Around 1:33, Superintendent David Piperato discussed the options.
King Spry are the EASD attorneys. Since EASD approved the payment of expenses for both the Palmer Township solicitor and Palmer engineers, EASD must continue paying for them too.
This slide is talked about around 1:34
Cheston is due to open in August 2020. Palmer’s construction is totally up in the air but the EASD engineers said if Adams were to suddenly agree to an easement (not happening) or Palmer Township agreed to the use of the current bubbler and system, Palmer would not be completed until possibly 2024-2025.

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