As the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association (TNAi) and its vice president, Glenn Goldstein, ("Tanglewood maligned," Aug. 7) continue to quibble over the height of the single 7-million-gallon reservoir and how it will negatively affect their property values, they seem oblivious to the potential danger that the 140-year old deteriorating reservoir presents.
A 30-year Frankfort Plant Board (FPB) engineer told me: “We are on borrowed time, and a catastrophic failure will cause untold damage on the surrounding neighborhoods. Can you imagine the worst case of 9 million gallons of water running down Lafayette Drive and over the hill onto Shelby Street and the Capitol?”
All alternatives to the single 7-million-gallon tank that have been proposed by the mayor, some commissioners and two FPB directors significantly delay this emergency replacement, and, therefore, pose unnecessary risks to human life and property. The kicker here is that they aren’t appreciably different in height.
The preferred 7-million-gallon tank with the 1/10 roof is just 9 feet taller than either the 6½-million-gallon (“compromise”) or the 4.6-million-gallon twin tanks that the TNAi prefers, with 7 feet of that coming from the flatter 1/16 roof, instead of 1/10.
The 7-million-gallon tank allows room to extend an earthen berm completely around it nearly to the top, so it can be terraced and planted with 30-foot evergreen trees to hide it.
The 6½-million-gallon tank “compromise” is only 2 feet shorter but costs $500,000 more and will add another year to build.
The 4.6-million-gallon tanks (TNAi) do not allow space for these extended berms or trees, so they will be much more exposed. Careful what you wish for.
Then there is the fact that the city does not have the regulatory authority to interfere with the administrative decisions of the FPB. That’s why the FPB is suing the city — and why FPB will win.
There are existing statutes and a city ordinance that clearly are supposed to insulate the FPB from undue political meddling. To date, the city has cost us nearly $100,000 in legal fees, attempting to override its own 1943 ordinance that gives the “Board the absolute and exclusive control, management, operation and maintenance of the water light and power system.” The city has no statutory authority to do that.
KRS 96.171 thru 96.188 gives the FPB exclusive control in addition to that 1943 ordinance.
KRS 100.316(2) states that "any proposal affecting land use by any department, commission, board, authority, agency, or instrumentality of state government shall not require approval of the local planning (and zoning) unit." The attorney general has ruled that this exemption cannot be waived.
All of this mess was caused by the city exceeding its authority and directing FPB to submit to the Department of Planning and Zoning in violation of these statutes. Also, where is the statute that allows the city to declare that TNAi has the final word on this engineering decision?
The law and the facts are totally on FPB’s side. So why go through this expensive and dangerous process? Kabuki Theater!
Jim Daniel is a lifelong Frankfort resident and retired Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection enforcement agent. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.