by Sarah Squires
The Winona City Council accepted a land donation and permanent easement from developer Jason Phillips Monday night, an area that will someday be occupied by a water storage tank to be built into the side of a bluff to accommodate new housing in Cobblestone Creek.
A 2001 utility study pointed to the need for a storage tank there, to be built at an elevation to serve the Phillips’ Development (Cobblestone Creek subdivision) and the existing Treetops subdivision. Treetops is currently served by water pumps, but if Cobblestone Creek sees much housing construction, the need for a tank will come, Public Works Director Keith Nelson said.
Nelson said this is just a land exchange currently, and the current pumping system could accommodate some additional housing. The tank is proposed to be built into the side of a bluff. “Either you put it on legs or you stick in the side of a bluff,” Nelson said.
The project doesn’t currently have a price tag, Nelson said, and although the area is expected to be prepared for “design and site investigation” next summer, the city won’t know when the tank will be needed until development actually takes place.
The city currently has four water storage tanks. The most recent was an elevated tank put in the Wincrest area, which cost taxpayers about $800,000, Nelson said.
Cobblestone Creek was a controversial subdivision annexed into the city several years ago from Wilson Township. It’s planned for 88 homes on 270 acres along County Road 17. The development was a hot-button issue over the last several years, with environmentalists and neighbors objecting, and others against the expensive extension of sewer and waters services. The City Council approved payment of over $1.3 million for those utility extensions in December, 2009.
The “utility access fee” is the city’s only way to directly defray the cost of the utility extensions, set at $17,000 per developable acre. For Phillips’ first phase, ten developable acres has brought in about $170,000 in fees, with the entire subdivision including about 48 developable acres and the potential for about $815,000 in fees.