And not a drop to drink: Forge worries over
Issues over providing Pigeon Forge city water outside the city and even outside the city’s planning region had developers and council bubbling last Tuesday at the City Commission meeting. Four different requests to extend Pigeon Forge water lines were on the agenda, three of which had already been through an earlier commission workshop that did not resolve all the issues.
“The original intent (of the agreement with the county for water) was to serve houses with bad well water. Tonight we looked at providing millions of gallons of water to developments where there are no bad wells,” said Vice Mayor Bill Maples. “We have more water going out of the city than being used in the city. The city tax payers just built a new water plant and this raises an area of concern to me.”
First on the agenda were a tie-in to city water along Upper Middle Creek Road from the Peach Orchard Estates development. Peach orchard is a planned five hundred acre development that is a mix of residences, condos and rental units. Engineer Jim Barnes had earlier explained to the commission that the developer wished to tie on to the eight -inch line that supplies the Catons Chapel School area.
City Engineer Mark Bernard from SSR Engineers noted to the council in preliminary discussions that this project, when required by city regulations to provide fire protection, would draw over a million gallons and significantly reduce the spare capacity available at the Richardson’s Cove tank.
The county had two request represented by Gary McGill of McGill and Associates. One is a 13,000-foot extension from the intersection of Richardson Cove Road and Dixon Branch to Jones Cove Road. The second is a tie in from one subdivision currently served by city water to another subdivision that backs up to it through a right-of-way tract.
The Richardson Cove extension would service primarily a large overnight cabin rental development. Issues of water stagnation and the need to flush the lines on a regular basis due to off-and-on usage were matters of concern for several commission members.
Gary Fields had requested his Cedar Falls proposal be put on the agenda. Fields has city water on Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the development but is planning a fourth phase. The new development would require the purchase of land from BS&J owned by Sid Blalock. The sale is contingent on city water being approved.
Fire protection was the central issue. Five lots of the ridge crest would not meet the city’s distance requirements from a hydrant by some 300 feet. While Fields informed members that he had spoken with Walden’s Creek V.F.D. and they carry hose on their trucks to cover the distance, making the first exception to the fire protection rule was a concern to Maples and Mayor Chance.
All four items were delayed and instead of passage or denial, commission voted to send all four to a workshop scheduled for April 5 at 8:30 a.m. It is hoped by that time that a review of the current county water system and usage plans being done by McGill and Associates will be more complete to help provide some guidance. The agreement on water between the city and county from 1997 is two years overdue for a review.
McGill expressed the opinion that the workshop would be symbiotic, saying, “and like wise it can help us in defining some of the structure of the review.”
Mayor Chance summarized the concerns of the city noting that some businesses just across the city line have been denied water for years by the council and that to turn over so much of the new capacity to areas for outside the city and its growth boundaries had to be viewed in terms of good stewardship of the tax dollars generated by businesses in the city.