Haymarket site chosen for 2-million gallon water tank

At long last, a site has been chosen for a 2-million gallon water tank near Haymarket, bringing an end to a search that members of the Prince William Planning Commission called “a nightmare.”

The storage tank will sit along Antioch Road at the Dominion Valley subdivision. It beat out an alternate site on Antioch Road near Thunder Road, which is in the Rural Crescent — an 80,000 acre preserve on the west end of the county sheltered from most development.

The decision marked a victory for Rural Crescent residents who rallied hard against the Thunder Oaks site.

Never mind that the tank will stand 128 feet tall and sit just a few hundred yards from Rural Crescent boundaries –the principle of preservation was upheld.

About 20 people, most residents of Thunder Oaks, spoke out against the proposed Thunder Oaks site and urged the commission to approve the Dominion Valley site.

They said it was illogical and unfair to clear land and build a tank in the protected area that will only serve nearby developments like Dominion Valley and Heritage Hunt.

“It’s like the saying, ‘You ought to dance with the one who brought you.’ Common sense dictates that the water tank ought to be built on the site where the water is being used,” said Jerry Curry, a Thunder Oaks resident.

Many residents who live at elevations above the site pointed out that while the tank might not be widely visible in greater community, they would see it from their homes.

“It’s like hiding an elephant in tall grass,” said David Christiansen.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to find the site inconsistent with the 1998 comprehensive plan — a land use guide for the county. Though not binding, county officials use the plan as a blueprint when making land use decisions.

All of the commissioners voted in favor of the Dominion Valley site, which is across from Camp Snyder, a camp owned by the Boy Scouts of America.

The search for an acceptable water storage tank site has taken more than a year and the planning commission has held five public hearings. There is one water storage tank in the Haymarket area and a second has been planned since 1990.

Chuck Weber, head of the Prince William County Service Authority, said the sites were carefully chosen and the Dominion Valley site tank must stand 128 feet tall to be efficient.

The tank will be built in the next five years. It will provide emergency water in case of fires and help equalize water pressure in new housing developments in the area.

Because the water tank is undergoing a public facility review, the Planning Commission’s decision is final unless the Board of County Supervisors chooses to review it.

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