Bethel's plans for a proposed water storage tower on Long Ridge Road, Danbury, have been resisted by nearby residents since 2005, but a solution may soon be at hand.
Town Engineer Andrew Morosky said that the town has been trying to build a new water storage tank near the existing Eureka water treatment plant on Bethel owned land in Danbury, but Danbury's Planning Commission has so far resisted those efforts.
The request for a new tank was first denied by Danbury's Planning Commission in 2005 as incompatible with the landscape and residential neighborhood, according to Morosky. “We went through the courts in 2010 and 2011, and the courts said we needed to reappy,” Morosky said, explaining that the additional water tank is very necessary to Bethel.
“If there was an emergency and we needed a lot of water, we'd be in trouble. Bethel needs this very badly,” Morosky said, noting the loss of a tank on Hickok Avenue that once provided 1 ½ million gallons of water to the town and is now unusable.
Morosky was surprised at the local resistance to the tower as it is in the same location as Bethel's water treatment plant in an area where Bethel already has other water storage. The tower would be maintanence free.
The residents have been concerned that the tank will look out of place in the natural woods setting.
Morosky has been working with a landscape architect to assure the tank, which would be more than half buried with only 14 feet of the tower showing, would not be unsightly. However, Long Ridge residents who attended a January meeting rejected a landscape arrangement of evergreens and arbor vides, and requested more natural plantings to hide the tank.
Some of the Danbury residents who had come to fight the plan at a January meeting felt that Bethel was headed in the right direction and might reconsider their position if the coverage could be resolved.
Morosky promised the residents that Bethel would also install a fire hydrant. Currently, there is no fire hydrant within a mile of the area.
The Public Utilities Commission will be meeting, unscheduled at this time, with residents of the area to propose a more natural selection of foliage to hide the tank.
In 2008, the town received a Manufacturers Assitance grant for the development of the water tower for an industrial park that needs water. The $600,000 grant, received in 2008, will benefit The Clarke Business Park on Grassy Plain and other areas, including residential, as well. The grant could be jeopardized if the plan for the new tower is not approved relatively soon. Town Attoney Martin Lawlor said that it could take as long as four months for the plan to be resolved.