Meeting set for water tank |

Meeting set for water tank

Andy Bourelle

A meeting for Johnson Lane residents is scheduled for Wednesday night regarding the community’s proposed water tank.

It will be held at the Johnson Lane Volunteer Fire Department at 7 p.m.

The meeting’s purpose is to give Johnson Lane residents a chance to respond to last Tuesday’s meeting with the Douglas County Community Development department and to prepare for an upcoming county commission meeting.

The meetings result from the proposed site at 1551 Johnson Lane for a new water tank. The two acres for the tank have not been purchased and cannot be bought without the approval of the county commissioners, who will discuss the issue at their Nov. 6 meeting.

After some residents received letters from the community development department in late September, many people living in the area spoke out against the location.

Residents are upset because the location is in a residential area, and they say it will be an eyesore and devaluate the nearby property.

“It’s going to be pretty hard to sell a lot that has a water tank as its view,” Rich Richardson, who lives in Johnson Lane and has been leading the effort against the tank, said Wednesday.

About 80 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, which was run by Community Development Director Bob Nunes and members of the development staff. The purpose of the meeting was to be informative about the cost of the site and other potential sites and to take input from residents.

Nunes said he understood that no one wanted the water tank and the community would try to minimize the visual impact as much as possible.

“That’s why we’re here,” he said. “We want to work with people.”

County officials showed computer-generated drawings of what the sites would look like with the tanks on them, and Johnson Lane residents had pictures of what existing water tanks in the Valley and Carson City looked like.

Residents had several questions the department was unable to answer, and Nunes agreed to have the answers to those questions before their upcoming resident meeting.

Nunes provided information regarding the chronology of events that has brought about the water tank, explaining that it is part of a capital improvement plan adopted by the county commission in April.

The community development department also provided the locations and costs for the four alternate sites in the Johnson Lane area. The additional costs for the sites ranged from $441,440 to $783,556, according to the community development department. Additional pipelines, additional pressure-reducing stations and the need to bury one of the tanks which would be at a higher elevation were among reasons for the more expensive locations.

“Any of these things (proposed sites) is physically possible,” Nunes said at the meeting. “From an engineering standpoint, it (the problems with the sites) is dollars and cents.”

Although the additional costs were provided, several residents were unhappy when the department couldn’t provide the actual costs, or a breakdown of the costs. Nunes promised to have these numbers to the residents by their meeting, along with the costs for a different location on Bureau of Land Management land the residents suggested the county look at.

Richardson said Wednesday there were several other questions the community development department couldn’t answer, but agreed to give him by Tuesday.

Among these included the reasoning behind why the tank is planned to use 16-inch pipe, while the existing tank in the Johnson Lane area only uses 8-inch pipe and a larger tank he looked at uses 12-inch pipe. Also, the county’s price on piping, about $80 a foot which includes installation, seemed significantly higher than $45 to $50 a recently built tank in Carson City had to pay. Although the Carson City pipe was smaller, he said he thought the increase seemed too significant.

Also, Richardson said he wanted to know why the county was able to buy the two acres at the site for $30,000 an acre while similar plots of land in the area were going for $48,000 to $52,000. He said the site was developable, and anyone who purchased it could build a home with a nice view of the Sierras. The residents wonder if a special situation exists between the county and the property owner, creating a conflict of interest.

“It makes you wonder why,” he said. “The county has money. It’s not like they couldn’t pay the market price. Thirty thousand an acre is very cheap.”

At the meeting, Nunes informed the residents the size of the tank would be changed from the original plan of 32 feet high by 92 feet in diameter to 24 feet by 100 feet, because of residents’ concerns.

Also, he said the county would landscape the site to make the visual impact as harmless as possible. Richardson said he wanted the estimated costs on the landscaping, too.

Richardson said the Wednesday meeting would be a chance for the residents to gather their thoughts after the Oct. 21 meeting, to review the additional information and to decide how to respond at the county commission meeting Nov. 6.

“It’s the intent of our group, at this point, to try to stop it from going into the Johnson Lane area,” Richardson said. “We don’t feel that a water tank should be in a residential area. Sites three, four (the one at 1551 Johnson Lane) and five are not even an issue, in my opinion.”

The tank is needed soon for the Airport and Mountain View water system, Nunes said at the meeting.

He said when the community development department gave its proposal to the county commissioners in November, it would inform them of the views of the Johnson Lane residents.

Richardson said he intends to ask the county commissioners to put the issue on its Nov. 6 agenda in the evening so more Johnson Lane residents are able to attend.

“It’s pretty hard for 84 people (the number he said attended the last meeting) to take off work,” Richardson said. “We definitely would get representation that way. I think it’s a big enough issue they’ll do that.”