Centerfield still mulling secondary-water ordinance

CENTERFIELD—The Centerfield City Council heard residents’ concerns about a draft ordinance that would change irrigation water requirements for new development in the city.

A mixture of opinions arose from those that both supported and opposed the ordinance at the council’s last meeting. 

Currently, for the council to approve new development, the owner must turn over one share of irrigation water per half-acre of land. For land between a half-acre and one acre, two shares must be given, and so on. 

Under the new ordinance, developers would be given another option. Instead of being required to give two shares for land between a half-acre and an acre, persons would be able to give only one share and install a meter to monitor usage. 

There were concerns about what the rule may do to the land market. The thought is that people will create lots as close to one acre without going over as possible, then use up the one share and abuse culinary water. 

Others were worried about the fairness of the ordinance.

“If you’re going to meter me, why wouldn’t you meter someone else,” Duane Follett said. 

Though this rule would only apply to new development, the members of the council all agreed that meters are essential. The city has pending grant applications that, if approved, would fund the costs of providing every household in the city a meter to track their irrigation water usage, Mayor Tom Sorensen said.

Weston Barney, a developer waiting for permission to begin the first phase of building a subdivision in the city, has been a part of this discussion for last several months. The new rule would allow him to divide the land into five, bigger lots. If the current ordinance remains, he will have to divide into six, smaller lots. 

Barney said at the meeting that fairness shouldn’t be a problem. The meters will act as the “policing force,” he said, to make sure that overuse isn’t a problem.  He said that the rule could save water and make for nicer lots. 

The council shared their thoughts on the ordinance. After hearing the public’s concerns, most members of the council expressed opposition to adopting the new ordinance.  Councilman David Beck, however, remained supportive of the new ordinance.

“I think we are in a drought quandary,” he said.

Beck said he thought the discussion would be much different if the state was not experiencing the current drought. The new ordinance would provide people with choices, he said, a quality he finds attractive. 

Sorensen advised that the council weigh the possible benefits to the city that the ordinance may present. He said that if the city will not benefit from changing the ordinance, he is not sure the council should go through with it. 

The council will officially vote on the ordinance at their next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 4.