Hampstead decides to put water tank on school land North Carroll Middle site is less-expensive option

September 14, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The Hampstead Town Council has decided to place a half-million-gallon water tank at North Carroll Middle School, cutting land costs for the project that is needed to relieve water-pressure problems.

Councilman Lawrence H. Hentz Jr. outlined the pluses and minuses of six possible sites for the new tank at a recent council meeting and public hearing, then recommended the site near the entrance to the school on Route 30, near the North Carroll Community Pond.

The tank is needed because water pressure at the north end of town is low and might hamper firefighters.

"The town slopes up to the north," Hentz said.

He cited the lower costs of using the school site, since no land would need to be purchased.

Hentz said there's an agreement with an engineering firm for the design, and "we're hoping to get it in the ground by next year."

The council agreed with him but has yet to vote on the site.

About six residents who live near the school site -- but outside the town limits -- attended the public hearing and objected to a tower at the school, saying it would obstruct their view.

Several said they weren't notified, while some questioned why other residents -- whom they called the "golf-course people" -- were able to shoot down the proposed Fairway Oaks Court site this year.

When that site was discussed at a council meeting in February, Town Manager Neil Ridgely said the crowd was too large for the 75-seat town hall.

"It's the first time I've seen that meeting room overflow," Ridgely said.

Asked why the town was holding a meeting if the location was "a done deal," Mayor Christopher M. Nevin replied: "To hold an update and let people know. In February, we had five scenarios. Now, we've narrowed it down to one."

Advertisements about the proposed "North End Storage Tank" were run in the newspapers, Ridgely said later. He also sent letters and spoke with at least two residents near the school site on Route 30, but "I did not go knock on every door."

"I understand," Ridgely said of the residents' objections. "They've had a view for many, many years of open fields and a soccer field. But no matter where you locate a water tower, there probably will be concerns with it."

The Fairway Oaks Court site has dense development, which means higher water-line costs, he said, and would require an additional $150,000 to buy two lots in the subdivision.

"We are finalizing the deal with the board of education," Ridgely said, but will need a deed for about half an acre from the County Commissioners. The town has applied for a state loan for the $934,000 project.

The school -- the oldest in use in the county -- does not have municipal water or sewer service now, he said.

The north end of town has a water-pressure problem that results in some residents getting "water hammer -- rattling from air in the lines," Ridgely said, especially when the town flushes the lines as they are required to do quarterly.

"There will be more development up there, so we had to do something," he said.

The town has two other water tanks. One at Hillcrest Street holds 150,000 gallons and is about 40 years old. The other is a half-million-gallon tank at Panther Drive that is about 20 years old.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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