The Clarke County Planning Commission has provided the Clarke County Sanitation Authority with conditional approval of the site plan for a new 100,000-gallon water tank in Millwood, Virginia. The new structure will be co-located with the existing smaller tower during construction at the intersection of Browntown Road and Bishop Meade Road.
Clarke County Zoning Administrator Jesse Russell told the Planning Commissioners that the new tank is needed to will increase water capacity and to help balance water pressure between Millwood, Boyce and White Post.
Russell also said that although the site plan application did not officially include antennas that may possibly be mounted on the top of the tower in the future, the additional height associated with adding antennas has caused some concern in the community.
Sanitation Authority Vice-Chairman Dan Mackay-Smith told the Planning Commissioners that for now, the Sanitation Authority is satisfied with the proposed tower 141-foot height and diameter as currently specified in the site plan application. Mackay-Smith added that concerns arose after the Sanitation Authority began discussions related to the antennas.
“We were willing to add an antenna for the County,” Mackay-Smith said. “But some people saw it as an additional requirement.”
Earlier this year, local police and fire officials asked the County to review the possibility of adding several emergency communications antennas on the new water tower to improve emergency radio communications in the southern part of the County The addition of the antennas raised not only concerns of neighbors nearby, it has also caused the project’s cost to increase as well.
Mackay-Smith said that in February Sanitation Authority officials believed that they had an agreement with property owner Richard Farland to purchase the approximately half-acre of land for the new tower adjacent to the existing tower but later learned that Farland has changed his mind after learning about the antennas.
“Delays and costs have resulted in a request from the owner for an increase in the price,” Mackay-Smith said.
Mackay-Smith said that Farland has now asked for a price increase from $15,000 to $20,000. A new contract for the adjusted amount has been sent to Farland for approval according to Mackay-Smith.
On Friday, Mackay-Smith asked the Planning Commission for conditional approval of the Sanitation Authority’s site plan for the tower so that planning for the construction phase can commence once the agreement with Farland is finalized.
Planning Commissioner Robina Bouffault (White Post) agreed with Mackay-Smith and offered a motion to conditionally approve the site plan pending contract negotiations and boundary line adjustments once the property has been officially purchased.
“I think that we need to move this forward,” Bouffault said.
Bouffault’s Planning Commission associates agreed passing the motion unanimously.
Planning Commissioner Scott Kreider (Buckmarsh) was absent.