Archive for Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Planning commission discusses new water tower

December 1, 2009

Basehor may have a new and larger water tower by this time next year.

At Tuesday night's Basehor Planning Commission meeting, the commissioners discussed the possibility of building a bigger water tower where one already exists at U.S. Highway 24-40 and 155th Street. The tower currently holds 100,000 gallons of water, and the new tower would hold 1 million gallons.

The city’s water service provider, Consolidated Rural Water District No. 1, is requesting an extended conditional use permit to build the tower. Conditional use permits are generally granted for five years, and the water district would like to extend that so the structure, which would have a lifespan of 50 years or more, would not have to be evaluated every five years.

A representative from Consolidated Rural Water District No. 1 came to the meeting to talk to the planning commission about the benefits of a larger tower, which includes the ability to sustain water services during vast future growth in the city.

Operations manager for the water district Mike Fulkerson said the current tank, along with another tank in the Falcon Lakes subdivision, serves the water needs of the district today, which includes Basehor and Lansing. The tanks operate independently of each other in two different pressure zones. A new, larger tank at 24-40 and 155th Street would allow the two tanks to work in conjunction with each other on one pressure setting, Fulkerson said.

The city can choose one of three designs for the water tower: a standard-legged tank like that in Falcon Lakes, a hydropillar-style tank with a fluted steel column or a composite-style tower with a larger tank and standard column. With such a large structure, aesthetics are important, Fulkerson said, and that was taken into consideration when selecting the three designs.

“We understand that this is in a pretty prominent place, kind of a gateway for our community, and our board takes that pretty seriously,” Fulkerson said.

If the project were let to bid in January 2010, the tower would be up and painted before the end of the year, Fulkerson said, at a cost of roughly $2.5 million. If it is bid later than January, the tower will still be finished on time, but it will remain unpainted through the winter.

Fulkerson also said the cost of the new tower would not affect water rates within the district.

“The rates that are in place now will handle what we have as far as debt (from this project),” he said. “We took this project into consideration when raising fees, so it will not raise your water rates.”

Planning commission chairman John Matthews expressed his concern that the higher tower, which would stand about 170 feet tall, might interfere with cell phone, radio or television transmission because of its proximity to the city’s service towers.

Fulkerson said the water district had never encountered such a problem before, but he would contact the respective companies to make sure this would not happen.

The commission expressed its favor of the composite-style tower and opposition to the legged tower. The subject will be addressed further at the Jan. 11 planning commission meeting.

Also on Tuesday the commission,

• Approved, 7-0, the minutes from the July 7 meeting.

• Heard a report from City Administrator Mark Loughry about the progress in hiring a new city planning director. Loughry said the city chose to hire an engineer instead of a planning director, and it had seen a positive response to its ad for this employee. The city hopes to have someone in the position before the end of December, Loughry said.

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