Who wants to watch their basement fill up with sewage? Not Rattlesnake residents Mark and Judy Chapman. The Chapmans are two Gilbert Avenue residents who are unequivocally in favor of bringing city sewer lines to their property. On Monday night, March 7, City Council unanimously approved a special improvement district that will, by summer, hook up 40 properties to city sewer. Affected residents live primarily along Gilbert Avenue within the larger Rattlesnake special improvement district, SID 528, which remains tied up in a federal lawsuit.
Last year the anti-sewer crowd voiced loud opposition to SID 528, and registered almost—but not quite—75 percent protest. In direct contrast, the approval of the smaller SID was accomplished with little ado.
“The people who are anti-sewer are the ones who are out screaming and yelling and making fools of themselves,” Mark Chapman says.
The homes in the Rattlesnake that aren’t connected to sewer—roughly 470—appear to be hooking up in small chunks. On Saturday, March 5, a petitioner knocked on Councilwoman Heidi Kendall’s home hoping to collect a signature in favor of sewering the Fox Farm area. Kendall was not surprised. When she campaigned for her City Council seat through the summer and fall of 2003, she often heard complaints about failing septic systems.
In contrast to the oftentimes deafening outcry against the sewer in SID 528, no one protested the smaller Gilbert Avenue petition, according to Public Works Director Bruce Bender. If the original petition against SID 528 was indeed opposed by 75 percent of district residents, one might wonder why all—except longtime government watchdog and critic Will Snodgrass—are silent now.
Judy Chapman, for one, would prefer that Snodgrass remain silent, too, since he doesn’t live in the neighborhood. “I fail to see your name on this list of property owners in the Gilbert Avenue area,” she said to Snodgrass during the March 7 City Council meeting. “Could you tell me on this map which piece of property that you own?”
She appeared to be asking a rhetorical question.