Water tower approved for Hemby Road

WEDDINGTON – After years of indecision and months of heated arguments, Weddington will get a water tower the county promises will help residents who often can’t shower in the morning due to poor water pressure.

Weddington Town Council voted Monday, Oct. 14, to approve a 1.5 million-gallon water tower for a site on Hemby Road behind the Providence Volunteer Fire Department that will improve water quality for a number of area neighborhoods. The homes have lacked constant water pressure for years, meaning residents often can’t shower during peak hours, flush their toilets properly or run the dish washer and laundry machine at the same time.

While the tower won’t be complete until spring 2015, Monday’s decision is a step in the right direction for residents who have seen multiple water tower proposals fall by the wayside.

One resident summed up the years of frustration to council members. His wife, who has a terminal illness, wasn’t able to take a shower sometimes “until she got to Hospice, where they actually have water,” the man said, adding the problem needs to be fixed sooner rather than later because “I need to be able to take a shower in the mornings to get to work to pay my taxes.”

Councilman Werner Thomisser said the inability for some residents to shower when they want or flush their toilets isn’t how the town should be run, and why the town finally needed to move forward on a tower after years of delays and discussion.

“This is Weddington, North Carolina,” he said. “This is not a Third World nation.”

County public works officials considered as many as 30 possible sites in the area since 2007 as western Union County’s population exploded. Weddington denied a tower from being built across from town hall in 2010, then approved a site on Providence Road near Rea Road in 2011 only to later rescind their decision. The choice came down earlier this year to the Hemby Road spot or land behind the Weddington Corners shopping center on Weddington-Matthews Road. Residents near the Hemby Road site begged town council to pick another site or push the county for more-costly ground water tanks, saying the nearly 180-foot-tall water tower would be an eyesore that lowered their property values and paved the way for commercial development to come to the stretch of road. Some residents argued Monday the council’s support of the Hemby Road location was a violation of the town’s land-use plan, which seeks to conserve open space and rural, scenic views, and suggested the town had ulterior motives and were attempting to create a new location for commercial development.

One woman, speaking against the Hemby Road location, said she didn’t want to see the soybean fields currently planted there turn into “a nail salon, pizza parlor” or other strip mall-style retail.

Council members, asked multiple times why the Hemby Road location was picked instead of the Weddington-Matthews Road lot, pointed to a number of issues as why they finally approved a water tower for the site.

Residents at a meeting earlier this year voted that they preferred the Hemby Road option, though council members acknowledged the vote was in the area of 20 to 12 between the two sites as opposed to the hundreds who have now signed petitions regarding the two sites. Also, the spot behind the shopping center has some residential property nearby, though not as much as the Hemby Road location.

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