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Richfield residents offer opinions on proposed water tower

11/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

A proposed water tower off Broadview Road drew different opinions from residents at the Richfield Village Council meeting Nov. 5.

Cleveland Interim Water Commissioner Alex Margevicius spoke to Council and residents about a proposal for a water tower that would be located on village-owned property off Broadview Road.

He explained how water is pumped from Lake Erie to residents of Cleveland, Richfield and 69 other suburbs. In addition to being pumped out as much as 25 miles, the water also must be pumped up to higher elevations like Richfield.

Assistant Commissioner Pierre Haddad said a water tower would improve service and pressure, especially to the northwest quadrant of Richfield, where the available well water is “marginal or insufficient.”

The water officials added this water tower would not be accompanied by a rate increase and residents would not be forced to tap into the Cleveland water system.

Margevicius said that in order to serve Richfield residents, water would come from a proposed pump station in Brecksville, which would send the water 80 feet up to the Richfield tower.

He presented a slideshow with water towers of different shapes, Photoshopped into the existing landscape.

“If there is ever a water main break, the water tower would offer several hours’ worth of storage to ride it out,” Margevicius said.

Residents who live near the proposed site off Broadview Road weren’t happy at the idea of a 90-foot, 1 million gallon water tower near their homes.

Max Lewis, of Forest Ridge Drive, asked Council to consider other locations “to protect the integrity of the area, something that is amenable to everybody.”

“If we find someplace else that Richfield prefers, we’re open to that, if it works,” Margevicius replied.

Maureen Ahmann, of Emerald Drive, also spoke in opposition to the tower’s proposed location.

“Most of us aren’t asking for city water,” said Ahmann. “You can see that thing from Bath. We are a farming and rural community, and that looks like something from outer space. That is hideous.”

However, not all the residents who spoke were against the water tower.

“We need the water tower in order to get good pressure, because our well water is not good in the southern part of town,” said Karen Sweeney, of Amelia Drive. “I think Richfield needs city water, and if a tower is what it takes, I don’t care if it’s in my backyard.”

In response to Lewis’ suggestion the tower could be located near Town Hall, Giant Eagle or the Girl Scout camp, Council President Rick Hudak said, “We don’t own all that property. We do own property by the cemetery and other land that topographically is very high.”

For example, Margevicius said a water tower near Town Hall would be 60 feet too low to provide the proper service and pressure.

“Nothing’s going to happen right now,” said Mayor Bobbie Beshara.

She added the village would look at other locations and approach the Richfield Township trustees about locations in the township.

In other news:

  • Council passed a zoning code amendment allowing the Planning and Zoning Commission to approve ground signs that are less than the required distance from the right-of-way.
    These signs could be approved if “the required setback is unreasonable because of existing site conditions” as long as they do not block traffic sight lines.
  • Beshara thanked Cub Scout Pack No. 3387 for helping to plant bulbs around the senior center.
  • Police Chief Keith Morgan reported the resignation of Jackie Ingersoll, who had served Richfield as a dispatcher for 31 years. A celebration of her service will be planned, according to Morgan.
    Morgan also reported a Richfield resident forfeited $6,145 after being convicted for trafficking marijuana. Seventy percent of the funds will go to the Richfield Police Department Law Enforcement Trust Fund, while the rest will be earmarked for the Summit County Law Enforcement Fund.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek thanked the residents who participated in the CERT training, in which they learned how to help in case of an emergency.
    He also reminded residents to change the batteries in their smoke detectors and to replace the detectors if they are 10 years old or older.
    Mihalek also commended his crew for assisting the Brecksville Fire Department in rescuing three people from a burning building.
  • Recreation Director Ruth Jocek said her department mailed out surveys about what Richfield Village residents would like to see in a recreation/community center.
  • Councilman Mike Wheeler reported the Park Board is preparing for the Tree Lighting Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. at the intersection of state Route 303 and Broadview Road.
    Wheeler also said a 5K run to benefit the USO is scheduled for Nov. 29 with an entry fee of $5.
    The Recreation Department will also have “Hollydays” at the Eastwood Preserve Nov. 30 and all the Saturdays in December from 9 a.m. to noon. The rooms will be decorated, and local artists will sell their works.
  • Finance Director Sandy Turk reported that October income tax receipts came in almost 14 percent higher than last year. For the year to date, they are 7.4 percent higher.
  • Wheeler also said the next meeting of the Insurance Committee is scheduled for Nov. 21 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Hudak thanked Jocek for her work on the Halloween party at the fire station. He and Beshara also thanked the Police Department, Fire Department, Chamber of Commerce, Garden Club and Sons of AMVETS for their help with the event.
  • Council passed a resolution to add $81,600 to the 2013 budget, including $69,500 to the Fire Department for part-time salaries, overtime wages and hospitalization costs.
    The resolution also includes $7,000 for Christmas lights to decorate village buildings. The money will come from leftover grant funds from the improvements to the Masonic Hall.
  • Council introduced a zoning code amendment that would allow offices with warehousing of products in an enclosed building (flex space) as a conditional use in the Office and Limited Industrial District.
    Council voted to send the ordinance to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which will conduct a public hearing Nov. 26. Council will hold its public hearing for the ordinance Dec. 3.

The next Village Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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