Manchester OKs six-month ban on building permits

August 10, 1994|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,Sun Staff Writer

Citing a water shortage, the Manchester Town Council voted unanimously last night to stop granting building permits for six months.

Though some expressed doubts about specific language, all five council members supported Emergency Ordinance 91, which was proposed by Councilman Chris D'Amario, chairman of the public utilities committee.

Manchester residents have been prohibited from using water outside their residences since late June, when Mayor Earl A. J. Warehime identified a serious water shortage.

"We need time to look at [the water] we have," Mr. D'Amario said. "So I think we should put the brakes on."

Mayor Warehime said last night that he would sign the ordinance immediately and that it would become effective at once.

Council members based their decision on the assessment of the water shortage by the consulting firm Tatman and Lee Associates in an Aug. 2 report. Mr. D'Amario said he will try to organize a workshop so the council can meet with representatives of the firm to plan further action.

Some council members, led by Jim Singer, had expressed strong reservations when Mr. D'Amario suggested a moratorium on new building permits last month. The ordinance appeared designed in part to address those objections.

The measure allows the council to lift the moratorium any time and exempts any development that brings in 500 gallons of water per day for each new house -- enough, town officials believe, to create a surplus that could be added to the Manchester water supply.

"We felt that at 500 gallons, the developments are putting in more than they are taking out," said Town Manager Terry L. Short. "That way they'll be helping the problem."

Mr. Singer, while voting for the ordinance, said he was concerned that the measure could penalize owners of small properties.

Meanwhile, there appears to be little relief for the parched town of 3,000 residents.

In an Aug. 8 memo to Mr. Short released last night, Manchester water superintendent Steven L. Miller recommended a 30-day extension of the ban on outdoor water use.

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