Speaking on behalf of a group of Stagestand residents, William Banks took issue with an engineer’s recommendation to locate a new water tower approximately one-quarter of a mile west of the Stagestand housing addition during the public comments portion of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting in Duncan.

Banks predicted a decline in property values and a halt to new development in the area if the 110-foot tower were to be built that close to the Stagestand neighborhood where he lives. He said it could cost the city (and the local school district) thousands of dollars in lost tax revenue.

Banks stated that since the engineer’s report did not take those facts into consideration, “It is flawed based on an incomplete cost analysis.”

He also chided city officials for their failure to properly notify local residents of a public meeting on the issue held nearly two weeks ago.

In response, Duncan City Manager Clyde Shaw stated that notices of the meeting were sent out to all Duncan utility customers in Stagestand and Timbergate.

New construction into the north end of Duncan has produced the need for a new tower in the northwest section of town, said city officials.

At the public meeting last month, an engineer’s report was presented that identified three possible sites for a new water tower and listed a cost analysis and comparison of each site’s advantages and disadvantages.

The Stagestand property was listed as Site 1 in the report. Site 2 was near Osage Road, east of the bypass, and Site 3 near Camelback, just south of El Rancho. The report’s conclusion was that Site 1 would cost less and be the best location for the new water tower.

“The report did a good job from the construction aspect, but it didn’t consider the whole picture,” said Banks.

“There was no recognition that the 96 residents of Stagestand will lose 10 to 20 percent of their property value if the tower is built,” said Banks, citing an estimate from a local real estate professional.

“A 110-foot tower would be 11 stories high, or the tallest building in Duncan,” he continued. “For a visual: It will be three times as tall as the hospital.”

Its construction just west of Stagestand would halt any further development of the area, he said, which would cost the property owners as much as $10 million (250 lots at $40,000 each).

“A complete cost analysis needs to be constructed,” Banks said. “The city engineer didn’t consider the whole community. He just focused on the cost for the City of Duncan.”

It was not the city’s engineer but instead an outside consulting firm and hydrologist (water scientist) who had prepared the report, Shaw said in response.

“We’re still in the early stages of this,” said Mayor Gene Brown, “And we’ll continue to hold more public hearings. We have to consider all the issues, from safety (fire protection) to water pressure. We want this to be a team effort and don’t want to do anything detrimental to anybody.”

“We’re still accepting public input on this through Friday,” summed up Shaw, who said that full notification would be made of the next meeting on the issue.

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