FAIR OAKS RANCH — After months of discussion, surveys and even a petition, City Council has approved a final location and design for a proposed 500,000-gallon elevated water tank.
The $3.5 million project, which could be finished by November 2021, will be located on Ammann Road just west of Ralph Fair Road, the farthest from any residences among five potential sites considered by city leaders.
Council members Nov. 21 unanimously chose a “composite” style for the tank itself, and then approved the locale on a 5-2 vote with Steve Hartpence and Snehal Patel dissenting.
“The votes that happened tonight reflected potential impacts to existing homeowners and citizens that would really interfere with our quality of life, atmosphere and environment,” said resident Craig Riha. “The location they chose would not negatively impact any current homeowners.”
Riha and his neighbors, including John and Nancy Hill, live near another site in the Stone Creek Ranch subdivision suggested as an alternate. If picked, the Hill’s back door would’ve been 150 feet from the tower.
A petition undertaken by Nancy Hill to convince the town to select another site garnered 396 signatures.
“I didn’t know if it would have an effect or not, but I had to try,” Hill said.
After the council approved the Ammann Road locale, the audience erupted with applause.
“It’s nice to make people happy once in a while,” said Mayor Garry Mantizas.
The neighbors addressed the council with their concerns at the beginning of the session, and attended seven meetings during the year.
At the Nov. 21 meeting, city politicos winnowed down options before landing on Ammann Road, offering comments.
“I think every site on here has issues. Somebody is not going to be happy. … I think it’s (Ammann) the most pragmatic location,” said Councilman Roy E. Elizondo.
Results from a survey residents took at a Sept. 10 community workshop bolstered the council’s choice.
“The general consensus we heard … was having the tank at a location furthest away from existing residents,” said Ryan Sowa, project manager for Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., overseer of the water tank’s development.
Of the five sites, three were less than 1,000 feet from homes, with two possibly disrupting the “Hill Country aesthetic” because they required tree clearing, Patel said.
The poll also showed residents preferred the composite style.
Councilwoman MaryAnne Havard said the design’s form, fit and function match the look of the city.
“I think it has the least lifestyle cost as far as maintenance. It costs more to construct it, but the lifestyle over the next 60 years of painting and refurbishing and all of that stuff is relieved,” Havard said.
The tank’s extra capacity in the pedestal also favored its selection, leaders said.
“This is a very beautiful solution, as far as the best solutions out there,” said Ron Emmons, the city’s public works director and engineer.
Capital costs for the site, excluding the elevated tank itself, are $900,000, the most expensive of the five possibilities. Including the storage unit, valves and piping, the composite design was also the highest price, with an estimate of $1.57 million to $1.77 million, officials said.
Standing at 170 feet, it’s the tallest option. The spot, with three-phase electric power available, is the future home of the city’s pump station.
Residents using the municipality’s water will foot the bill for the project.
Though the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t deem the water tank a hazard, an exception request plan for the access road/drive onto the property to the Edwards Aquifer must be submitted to authorities.
“We expect that we would be able to get an exception, given the small size of the tank site and the impervious cover that we anticipate. Don’t expect that to be a hurdle,” Sowa told council members.
Kimley-Horn has until August 2020 to complete the design phase, before construction starts in November of the same year.