A company's plan to withdraw millions of gallons of water a week from an Old Lycoming Township well behind the former BiLo building off Lycoming Creek road has residents signing petitions against the project.
Centura Development, 1001 Commerce Park Drive, filed an application with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission in February seeking permission to withdraw 250,000 gallons of water a day that would be used to support gas drilling operations.
Although the commission doesn't plan on making a decision until September, Pat Spangler, of Janet Avenue, said Tuesday night at the township supervisors' meeting that she has a petition with 102 signatures against the plan.
Supervisor John W. Eck said Bimbo Bakeries, 3375 Lycoming Creek Road, also has a petition with more than 100 signatures against the proposed water withdraw.
Eck said residents are concerned because they rely on the same water that would be siphoned off from Centura's well.
"They're not just on wells," Eck said of nearby residents and businesses. "They're on shallow wells 30 to 35 feet deep."
Supervisors didn't speculate on how they would vote if it came to their desk in a conditional use hearing later this year, but Eck said neighboring municipalities should take note of what is taking place.
"It really rests now on the SRBC's shoulders," he said.
Eck warned that if the plan moves forward, Centura would be required to make concessions.
"If Centura Development wants to continue with this, there will be a hefty condition to proceed," he said.
Eck pointed out that he is related to Keith Eck of Centura Development, but that isn't clouding his viewpoint.
"I have no interest in that property. My interest is in the township," he said.
Supervisors also voted to sign a memorandum of understanding that makes the township a participant in a local startup government and educational access cable television channel.
Comcast channel 75, which presently broadcasts Williamsport City Council meetings, would be expanded to include information from outlying municipalities.
Eck said the channel is being funded through a three-year grant from the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau. The agency would provide $25,000 from hotel tax revenues for 2012, 13 and 14, he said.
"One of the questions is always: How do we keep it running after the $25,000 payments," Eck said.
He said one option is to raise the franchise fee that residents pay to Comcast. Old Lycoming Township's franchise fee is presently 3 percent included on Comcast bills. That could go to 5 percent if the supervisors chose.
The channel also could be supported by corporate underwriting and production fees imposed by the channel's administrator.
"To pass that on, that's a direct increase to our residents and something we don't want to do," said Supervisor Linda Mazzullo.
Mazzullo also said she recognizes that not all residents have access to cable television.
"A sad thing about it is a lot of people have a dish now and not Comcast," she said.
Supervisors passed the memorandum of understanding with the stipulation that municipalities that can't afford to participate won't be locked into the project.
In other business, supervisors accepted the hiring of Forrest K. Lehman as zoning and codes officer, replacing Judy A. Balzer. Mazzullo said the township accepted Balzer's resignation with regret, but welcomed Lehman on staff.