Intense exchange over pipe, rocks at meeting in Spring

A street in Spring Township floods during a downpour in August, 2018.

Emotions overflowed at a Spring Township supervisors meeting Monday, where a resident voiced concern about rocks and flooding.

An intense conversation between resident Georgette Veeder and the board during the meeting's open comment portion lasted much longer than the three-minutes-per-person maximum.

"I've called and called and asked for a response," Veeder said. "This office does not answer me. Nobody tells me what's going on."

After heavy rainfall, a pipe near Veeder's home was overwhelmed, causing water to flow across the road. The supervisors partially shared her concerns.

"These are strange times," said Supervisor James R. Oswald.

Oswald said chestnut trees that were on his property for centuries died due to excessive moisture.

Veeder was also angered by piles of rocks on the side of the road, placed there by the township to stop a careening car from falling from too great a height from the embankment.

"If a truck falls over," Veeder said, "somebody walks on the side of the road, they're gonna fall in and there's gonna be damage."

From there, the discussion became more heated. Veeder pressed on despite being repeatedly warned that she was approaching, and later exceeding the time limit. One supervisor asked who placed the rocks on the roadside.

"Placed them? They were thrown there!" Veeder shouted.

"You called three times. These things take a little bit of time," said Jay Vaughan, the township's manager. "I took care of the problem."

"This is what you did," Veeder replied, gesturing toward the collection of images she had on the meeting room's projector, pieces of evidence of the damages with file names like "pipe dream.jpg."

"If you want the rocks taken away, then I will take them away," Vaughan said.

"Then take them away!" Veeder said with her voice breaking.

"Give them a week and somebody will come," said Chairman Barry W. Ulrich.

"Let me say something," Vaughan said. "You remember when we were mowing on your property. The stuff is in our right of way."

Vaughan was referring to a recent incident in which Veeder complained that the township was mowing over her flowers.

"Those rocks were moved by the water. We didn't throw them," Vaughan continued, "so don't say that, and if I fix them and it rains five inches, it will probably happen again."

Vaughan said that there was nothing wrong with the offending pipe.

"The water is not coming from a township facility," he said. "The water was coming from a neighbor's fields. It's the sheer volume of water."

He is no stranger to these kinds of complaints.

"A lot of times, the answer is, 'We can't do anything about it,'" Vaughan said. "The water is going to get to her side of the road either way."