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Water salesman location postponed, beer garden unanimously passes
6/22/2007 By: Sarah Silvernail
The issues regarding the relocation of the town’s bulk water salesman, which arose at last week’s planning commission meeting, were revisited at Tuesday night’s Bayfield Town Board meeting, when town planner Joe Crain made the staff recommendation to relocate the salesman to the corner of Mountain View Drive and Spruce Drive.
Crain asked the board to change the land use designation for the lot, currently owned by Root Routledge, from residential single family use to that of community service so that the lot could house the water salesman.
The Bayfield water salesman is currently located at the old town shop off of Highway 160B next to Eagle Park, but must be moved in order to make way for the new town hall which will be breaking ground in October.
“The new lot is surrounded by non-residential uses,” Crain stated. “The current location [of the water salesman] has more residents that are impacted…that site has to be prepared for the new town hall and it’s essential to find a spot for it or to stop providing bulk water sales.”
Crain informed the board the lot on Mountain View has “a history.” In 2005 Routledge requested the town zone the property as a transitional property. The planning commission was split evenly over the decision while the town board unanimously voted against the proposal due to the fact that transitional zoning allows for “a multitude of commercial developments.”
Those opposed to the relocation have stated safety concerns, existing water pressure problems and the belief that the water salesman is a commercial business.
“This is a community service. It is not commercial,” Crain said. “The [water salesman] is part of the town’s utilities. Local businesses depend on it as well as outside residents.”
“The water salesman is a vital part of our community,” Justin Clifton, town manager, added. “People will say ‘not in my backyard’ but the town has looked for a long time and this is the best site found. There are legitimate concerns and I hear safety mentioned a lot, but this is not a fast road. This is not commercial. Ten percent of the water sales revenue is done in bulk and this keeps cost lower for residents and helps businesses. We provide a utility that people have relied on for a long time.”
Crain also presented traffic research involving the traffic at the current location.
On average the water salesman sells 550,000 gallons of water per month. Using these figures, Crain projected the average traffic to and from the water salesman as about 225 small vehicles and 113 large.
Crain explained the proposed location has an entrance on the north side of the lot and an exit on the south, which should discourage traffic from driving up Mountain View Drive into the residential area. There would be landscaping done involving vegetation, fencing and a berm to lessen the impact on the surrounding residents and downcast lighting. Crain also proposed that there be time restrictions set for use, therefore the water salesman would be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the winter.
“The current site has no [time] limitations, but due to the concerns [of the public] we need to have these restrictions,” Crain said.
Clifton admitted that the water pressure along Mountain View is not as good as that found along 160B and Mill Street and the town does need to take steps to improve the water pressure in that area. Clifton recommended a few solutions in regards to the water pressure such as installing a new PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve), limit the draw from the salesman or turn up the PRV to augment pressure to residents.
“That PRV was put in in the early ‘70’s,” Bayfield resident Tom Bennett stated. “If you do decide to put [the water salesman] in, then consider putting in a new PRV.”
“I am concerned about the water pressure…it needs to be looked into whether or not we [put in the salesman],” board member Russ Jones agreed. “If the location affects the water service, then we are doing a disservice to the community.”
Ron Montgomery, owner of Mountain Man Water and Bayfield resident, suggested that though placing the salesman in the industrial park would be twice as much as the current location, perhaps it is a better solution. Montgomery felt that a location in the industrial park could facilitate two fill stations, one for commercial use and one for residential, thereby increasing revenue.
“Cost is always an issue. The town doesn’t have flush pockets,” Rick Smith, mayor pro-tem, responded. “No site we could find, would give adequate room.”
Not all in attendance were opposed to the location. For many in this area hauling water is a necessity and they wished for the town to continue providing the bulk water service.
“Placing the water salesman in a more expensive location will impact the cost I pay. Right now I pay $75 for 2,000 gallons of water. If it gets more expensive I don’t know where I’ll get my water,” stated area resident Judy Donahue. “The cheaper it stays, the better it is on my part.”
Another area resident agreed stating “I depend on this water. [Removing the salesman] is like stepping backwards. We’ve already lost the recycling center.”
After Smith closed public discussion he informed the board that it had three choices; to approve re-zoning the property, to not approve it or to continue the discussion at a later time. The board voted, three to two, to postpone the decision until the board’s first meeting in July.
“Postponing this decision could mean substantial financial implications. I would never suggest that the board rush into a decision, but the sooner the better at this point,” Clifton warned.
“I thought we were trying to establish a feeling of community and [the water salesman is] an interruption of that...if it means a delay on the city hall it wouldn’t break my heart,” board member and Mountain View resident Niel Heib stated. “I’m not convinced yet that this is the best location. This is the best that we’ve found, I would agree with that. Maybe we’ll have something else to look at in the next 30 days but if there aren’t any other options then I’ll get behind the team.”
“We are not at a point we can make a decision but we are opening it up to suggestions. We don’t own much land in this town. [Mountain View] provides the least amount of impact…this is our best option,” board member Carol Blatnick concluded.
In other business the board unanimously passed the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce’s request for a beer garden to be held on the 4th of July, contingent upon the proposal being acceptable to the Town Marshal’s office. The chamber has five members who have gone through TIPS training, which is a program designed to prevent over serving, underage drinking and drunk driving. The Town Marshal, in addition to the chambers own security, will patrol the garden during its operating hours of 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.