Chesterfield changes location for 140-foot tower

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – After months of going back and forth with Chesterfield, a group of neighbors is getting its wish. The original site for a proposed 140-foot high water tower was next to Robious Middle School. But today, county planners want to put it down the street at Huguenot Park.

The property is owned by the county and it neighbors a public television station. Neighbors like it better because they say they won't be able to see if from their backyard. And they think that water tower will fit in better with the environment since these tall towers are already here.

For about 10 months Mike Vandeweghe has stood his ground.

"It would be a monstrosity for these three neighborhoods," he said.

The thought of a two-million gallon, 140-foot tall water tower connected hundreds of neighbors.

"The cause has been serious. We've been very serious about this and we still are," said Vandeweghe.

Darin Smouse credits the site change to meetings with county leaders.

"We felt like we did get heard in this case," he said.

The water tower is needed in the Robious area. The current one only holds one-million gallons of water, and at 45 years old, is not reliable in the growing community.

"We're just tickled to death that they've chosen another site that's better for everybody," Vandeweghe said.

As part of the deal, about 2.5 acres of county land will be used to expand Huguenot Park. An unlit soccer field and walking trails would be constructed next to that new water tower.

"I think that's great. I think that's a win-win. I think the park gets more activity, they get more land. It's not going to be in the site of any development," he said.

The county sent up a balloon 150-feet above Huguenot Park to simulate the top of the tower.

"There was a very limited number of locations you could see that balloon fly from, and no residential homes, and this is I think, a significant part, no residential homes could view that balloon," Smouse said.

Darin and Mike now wait for the county to make the decision they think is best.

The county planners are working on this water tower proposal for almost a year. This latest proposal goes before the planning commission next Tuesday.

That public hearing begins at six p.m. next Tuesday, at the government complex off of Iron Bridge Road. The board of supervisors has the final say on the project. It's expected to take a year and a half to complete.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.