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Regarding Water Use Committee Request, Commissioners Direct Staff To Resend Old WHS Reserve Calculations

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 2, 2013. The Watauga County Board of Commissioners directed staff to resend how the county calculated the water reserve currently allocated for the old Watauga High School site at its Tuesday meeting.

This follows last week’s claims from committee members on the town’s Water Use Committee that the county inaccurately calculated water needs for the marketability and subsequent development of the property.

The Water Use Committee, which was addressing the end-of-year expiration of the water allocation at its Sept. 25 meeting, directed staff to contact the county on how it came to the conclusion that 150,000 gallons per day are needed for the site.

While the committee members noted that it was willing to assist the county in reserving water to market and develop the site, Committee Member Patrick Beville noted that to have an arbitrary water reserve that wouldn’t necessarily be used would be “crazy.”

“How much does the property need realistically?” Beville asked.

On Tuesday, County Manager Deron Geouque said that Watauga Planning Director provided Town Planning Director Bill Bailey with the calculations in 2011.

Geouque also noted that developers, such Fuqua Development, which expressed interest in purchasing the property for $12 million in June, say that 150,000 gpd isn’t adequate. He also said it is difficult for developers to figure out exactly how much water is needed until a developer knows exactly what scope of development the town is willing to approve.

Geouque said that after Furman sent those calculations to the town in 2011, he hasn’t heard back from the town regarding the matter.

Commissioner Billy Kennedy suggested resending the calculations to the town.

“Maybe it’s a clerical error, maybe its malicious. Let’s just resend it,” Kennedy said.