Commission approves land purchase on Providence Road
By a unanimous vote, county commissioners approved a deal Monday, April 4, to move forward with a proposed Weddington water tower, buying property on Providence Road.
The deal calls for the county to pay $793,803 for roughly 9 acres, currently owned by Margaret Hemby, her son Kenneth and daughter Laura. The property is at 345 Providence Road South, stretching to an adjacent piece at 28173 Providence Road.
“The need for this tank was identified in our 2005 Master Plan,” Union County Public Works Director Ed Goscicki said.
The deal calls for the county to pay $20,000 in deposit, as well as pay for a current land survey of the piece. Then they would have to go before the town of Weddington to apply for a conditional use permit.
“If we closed on the sale, the $20,000 would be applied to (the) purchase,” county attorney Ligon Bundy said. “If the town denied the permit, the county can terminate (the agreement) but (would) lose the $20,000 deposit.”
Getting the permit might be a problem. In the past the county repeatedly attempted to find a location for a water tower in Weddington, only to face opposition from residents who didn’t want to see the structure from their homes.
“Without driving by the site, I can’t really say if I’m in favor,” Weddington resident Mark Thomas said. “The problem people had with the earlier proposal is that it would have been right across from town hall. Who wants to see that every day, next to a cemetery where your family is buried?”
The October 2009 proposal called for the tank to be built at 1929 Weddington Road, a vacant lot across the street from the town hall and next to Weddington United Methodist Church’s cemetery. It was rejected by the town council.
The Providence Road property appears to meet the town’s land ordinance requirements for an essential public service site: a minimum 40,000-square-foot lot area and minimum 120-foot lot width.
Public Works officials expect the 1.5 million gallon tank to improve static pressure and fire flow in the western portion of Union County during peak demand. The current design of the town however call into question exactly how much impact such a water tower would have on Weddington. Only 18 percent of the town’s 73 subdivisions have fire hydrants, which draw from the nearest water source. Additionally, 80 percent of homes use wells instead of county water. Of the town’s subdivisions, 60 of the 73 use only well water.
Public Works looked at nine sites both inside and just outside the Weddington town limits before settling on the Providence Road property. To settle on a piece, officials said they looked at five criteria, including tank height, presence of existing structures, proximity to a major transmission main, required acreage, current zoning, surrounding development and cost.
“It’s probably 18 months before it’s in service,” Goscicki said, adding that if approved, the tank should be in operation by the fall of 2012.