Amish family must connect to authority’s sewage system

An Amish family will be required to connect its property to the recently expanded sewage system following a court order.

On Nov. 26, Judge Gregory Hammond entered an order requiring Joseph and Barbara Yoder to connect their property to the Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority’s system.

Following a hearing on Oct. 23, Hammond had allowed 30 days for the filing of briefs in regards to a motion for judgment on the proceedings filed by the authority in regards to the Yoders connecting.

Hammond granted the motion and the first two counts, a motion for injunctive relief to require the Yoders to connect on their own and a motion for declaratory relief that allows the authority to connect the Yoders if they fail to do so themselves.

A third count, which would have allowed the authority to remove the Yoders from the property, was denied.

According to the order the Yoders, “…shall have 90 days from the date of filing of this order to comply.”

Ninety days after the filing of the order is Feb. 24, 2014.

In regards to count I, the motion for injunctive relief, the Yoders must, “(comply by) installing proper equipment on the property and connecting to the Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority’s sewer system at defendant’s (Yoder’s) expense.”

In regards to count II, “Should the defendant not comply with the relief granted to plaintiff (authority) as to count I – injunctive relief, under this order within 90 days, the Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority may enter the property pursuant to count II – declaratory relief and connect the dwelling to the Sugar Grove Area Sewer Authority sewer system at defendant’s expense.”

Hammond also ordered that the process create as little conflict with the Yoders’ religion as possible.

According to the order, “Plaintiff shall, in the process of connecting the property to the sewer system, take due care as to the defendant’s religious convictions and shall proceed in a manner so as to pose the least possible intrusion on defendant’s religious convictions and beliefs.”

The Yoders’ opposition to connecting to the system stems from their religious beliefs.