Nancy and I are in the due-diligence stage regarding a 50 year old church building that we are considering buying and converting into our home in Lancaster County, PA. We have encountered a number of problems that threaten the viability of the project.
One problem is the septic system. The only plumbing on the property is the outhouse pictured above. So, before we complete the purchase of the property, we need to be sure that we can install a septic system. We did not expect this to be a problem because the neighbors’ systems seem to be working well and the area is known for well-draining soil. However, the township Sewage Authority officer discovered that one of the neighbors is using a well near the rear of their property while the other neighbor’s well is at the front of the property. Since the township code will not allow septic system to be built within 100 feet of a well, there is no place on the church property that will currently work.
Initially, we thought this would make the property not-viable as a residence. However, the Sewage Authority officer discovered that the neighbor that is using the well near the rear of the property also has a well toward the front of the property. Since their septic system is also near the rear of their property, they are in violation of the code and should switch to their other well and abandon the one they are currently using. Moreover, they have received an incentive from the sellers of the church property who offered to pay for the well abandonment. We anticipate that this will be sufficient motivation for them to make the switch.
So, it appears that this problem is being resolved. Of course, we still want to be sure the soil passes the “perc test” before we complete the purchase.
Yesterday, we discovered another problem that could be more than a hurdle. It could be a wall that blocks us from moving forward. Read about it in my next post.