After weeks of meetings, letters and pleas from local residents and politicians alike, Aqua New York officially withdrew its application for a water tower in Wantagh on Monday morning.
The proposed water tower was to be built on Aqua’s property located on DeMott Avenue, which is next to the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway. Two accompanying buildings that would have housed an electrical/chemical and water well were also withdrawn during the announcement. Aqua had been scheduled for a public hearing on Aug. 10 in front of the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
“Today we’re here because a local water company listened to its neighbors and responded to their concerns,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray during the public announcement at the DeMott Avenue facility. “In short, we are here to announce that plans for a 150-foot water tower at this site are being washed away.”
“Aqua has indicated…that they are focused on exploring alternatives to a tower in meeting the water pressure needs of this neighborhood and for its residents,” Murray added.
Supervisor Murray, Councilwoman Angie Cullen,R-Freeport, Nassau County Legislator Dennis Dunne, R-Levitown, and New York State Senator Charles Fuschillo,R-Merrick in addition to U.S Senator Chuck Schumer,D-NY, all played a central role in the talks with Aqua about the tower. Murray and Cullen addressed residents’ concerns in a letter to the water company on June 17, which requested a community meeting.
Aqua president Matt Snyder said that he listened to residents during the July 12 community meeting on the water tower and that he learned that local residents were feeling a “little piled on with a couple of the projects.”
“We put a lot of man-hours into finding an alternative plan,” Legis. Dunne said. “We are going to continue to do that until we find something that is reasonable and suitable to the residents of this community. The tower is certainly not suitable. I think [Aqua] finally heard loud and clear.”
Dunne said that he will be joining Aqua as they search for a location for a new project to address the water pressure. Once that location is found, he said, they will be holding another community meeting.
“This was a big one to win. The town was responsive – I have to say they took the ball and they listened to the community,” said Fred Parola, attorney for the Wantagh/Seaford Homeowners Association.
Seaford resident Marjorie Klein, along with her husband Russell, spearheaded a petition drive with fellow residents who were against the project. They, and other volunteers, were able to gather 708 signatures in five days.
“We are just thrilled that Aqua heard the people,” Klein said. “Between our local government and Aqua we will come up with a better solution. I feel that an eyesore isn’t worth the price we were going to pay for the good water pressure.”
Aqua is in a pending sale of its New York subsidiary to Long Island America Water, according to the Town of Hempstead. The two will be working together to find an alternative plan that addresses water pressure issues within the area.