On Oct. 27, the Victor City Council promised they would speed up work on the upper-pressure zone and its water woes.
With the council meeting scheduled for Nov. 24 canceled due to Thanksgiving, Victor’s officials had to make good on that promise.
In that late October meeting, the council approved a moratorium on development in the upper pressure zone. This entails no new building permits and no new subdivision applications that were not previously deemed complete before the moratorium took effect.
The moratorium was installed as a way to limit water demand as the city’s water system has reached its operational ceiling. More development would further put demand on the system, opening it up to risks of inadequate residential and fire pressure standards.
Developers large and small were naturally concerned about the moratorium and how it will affect their market timing. Mountainside Village’s Larry Thal has been the most involved, with the potential site of a previously discussed water tank being built on land he owns.
The city made a good-faith agreement with Thal at that last meeting, and the two parties have begun working together in earnest towards finding a solution.
That discussion started back at square one, with the topic of what the water system solution will be. The council had previously favored a hillside tank but wanted to double back and make sure that that would be the best solution.
This will be done through a feasibility study, which will consider that tank among other alternatives. They will be judged on characteristics such as initial cost, life cycle, efficiency, and long-term efficiency.
“We don’t know these things until we actually dive in and get the full details of the options,” said Mayor Will Frohlich.
Thal wanted to have input on the feasibility study because he “expects to be paying for a pretty big chunk” of whatever gets built there.
Mountainside Village already has a pump station that services its initial phases (1, 2, 3a, 3b), but it needs improvements to service the latter phases 4 and 5.
The council has recognized Mountainside Village as a partner in this process, but city-contracted engineer Robert Hood stressed that the issues are separate, but parallel.
“We want to say, regardless of what the best thing is for Mountainside Village, what is the best thing for the upper-pressure zone?” said Hood.
“Maybe Larry wants to pay for it, but we don’t want him to have that leverage,” said Hood. “If he does pay for it, how are we going to recapture those fees? There’s a lot to it.”
During a council work session at the July 28 meeting, similar discussions were held about what the best solution would be regarding improvements to the water system. Since it was a work session, the council chose to not take any action in July.
Those discussions revolved around funding and looked at upgrading the Sherman Park pump station versus installing the hillside tank.
Hood and Sunrise Engineering then got bogged down by other issues in the next few months with no formal direction from the council given.
“We never got formal council direction to do that in the July 28 meeting,” said Hood. “Action was never taken and we got hung up on Mountainside Village related issues and less on what we needed to do to bring back to council a range of options.”
City attorney Herb Heimerl considered not just infrastructure-related solutions, but also administrative tactics.
“Let’s not just look at this in a static manner based on today’s zoning,” said Heimerl. “It’s part of the reason we did the moratorium, it’s a pretty big swath of land we’re talking about, spending close to a million dollars to accommodate high density that is not in the core.”
Frohlich ended the discussion by summing up his thoughts on the feasibility study and separating the issue from Mountainside Village.
“What’s the best option for now and what is the amount of density we want to encourage on that side of town?” said Frohlich. “That’s the good thing about separating the two because you can’t just think about it as a Mountainside Village thing, it has to be the whole upper-pressure zone area thing.”
When discussion wrapped, the council approved the $16,500 study to be completed by Sunrise Engineering. The study will be at least partially completed for a work session at the next council meeting on Dec. 8.