Weddington considering three spots for water tower

WEDDINGTON – After dealing with unreliable water pressure throughout town for a while, Weddington residents and officials met Tuesday, April 23, to discuss possible locations for a new water tower that could fix the problem. But where the structure will finally land is a point of contention for some area property owners.

The three possible locations for the 1.5-million-gallon water tank – Hemby Road behind the Providence Volunteer Fire Department, Weddington Matthews Road behind the Weddington Corners shopping center and N.C. 84 on what is known as the King property – are the last of about 18 properties the county’s water and sewer officials have looked at. The county isn’t looking for the “best” location but rather the location the majority of residents are “OK” with, said public works director Ed Goscicki on Tuesday.

County public works officials have worked with town council since 2006 to find a solution for the water needs throughout Weddington, specifically in the northern area of town – the Chestnut Place and Rose Hill neighborhoods – where water pressure has been low. Some residents have complained that some mornings the pressure is so low they are unable to shower. It’s the opposite in the southern part of town, where the pressure is too high and sometimes blows service lines out of the ground, according to Goscicki.

“The issues we are looking at are our main 24-inch water line on Providence Road and we have a 16-inch line … we need to be closer to the 24-inch line,” Goscicki said. “As we go too far away we loose hydraulic capability. … We want the water tank to be somewhere near the pressure zone.”

The two most likely options are the Hemby Road location and the Weddington Matthews Road location, according to the county Public Works Department.  Both towers would be about 180-feet tall, with the Hemby Road location being slightly shorter since the property is at a higher elevation. The Hemby Road tower would cost about $375,000 while the Weddington Matthews Road tower would cost about $500,000. Goscicki said the decision isn’t about cost, it’s about finding the best location.

The county already has a 60-day option for both of the properties, so when they decide on a location and move forward there won’t be any delay. The project should take a year and a half to construct.

Of the almost 40 people who attend the meeting, those in favor of the Weddington Matthews Road location behind the shopping center said, with the commercial development already there, it will be the least imposing.  Some also said there is too much residential development along Hemby Road and the tower could affect property values or future buyers for homes in the area.

Others disagreed, saying having the tower in the shopping center will be too much of an eyesore and go against the feel of what they want the town to be.

“We have fought to keep Weddington rural, …  who wants to drive into the heart of Weddington and that’s all you see?” said one resident at the meeting who has lived in Weddington for 41 years.

Regardless of location, one of the biggest concerns was future growth in Weddington and whether the tower can support that growth. If not, the county could have to put another water tower in Weddington in the future.

According to Goscicki, growth projections in the town don’t show a need for another water tower for 30 years, but when the time comes to build a new tower he said the county will have to purchase a new property because none of these locations can hold multiple towers.

“We have looked 30 years out … and we aren’t seeing a need for another water tank,” Goscicki said.  Both the Hemby Road and Matthews Weddington Road locations are about three acres and can’t hold a second tank.

The Public Works Department will take all the public comments and use them to create their proposal for the Weddington Town Council, that has to approve the rezoning petition for whatever property the county chooses before the project can move forward.

Anyone with concerns can still address the town council at their regular meetings.

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