On top of old Smoky Hill, a tower covered in fury

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AURORA | A 20-mile pipeline near Smoky Hill Road at E-470 east and runs south near University Boulevard can deliver 38 million gallons of water a day to the south Denver suburbs. City officials said the pipeline, which is part of the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency partnership, will need a storage tank on top of Smoky Hill in Aurora to work. Nearby residents protested and said the towers will be ugly.

“It will be a very sad day if Aurora Water is permitted to place the water towers on E-470 and Smoky Hill. This part of town prides itself on its beauty and views that are unparalleled in any other part of the city,” wrote Aurora resident Don Anoff, one of 120 people to comment during a hearing on the tanks. Detractors said the tanks would impact property values if built.

Anoff and others referred to the proposed Smoky Hill Tank, a water tank that will hold 2 million gallons of potable water at the southeast corner of E-470 and Smoky Hill Road. The tank will be 100 feet in diameter and will sit 25 feet above ground at the top of the Road, blocking mountain views for residents in neighborhoods such as Tallyn’s Reach.

On Dec. 8, the Aurora City Council affirmed the E-470 Authority’s decision to permit the tank to be built on a vote of 8-2 with councilwomen Renie Peterson and Molly Markert voting against the tank.

“We looked very hard for alternative sites. There were major problems with the sites we identified, and this was the only viable location we were able to find,” Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, said at the council meeting. He said the tank needed to be built at an elevation of at least 6,100 feet and at the specific Smoky Hill location.

“We’re talking about a pipeline that moves water from west to east and we’re changing it into a pipeline that moves in two directions. In order to get the hydraulics right, we have to have the tank be at the right location,” he said.

City of Aurora spokeswoman Julie Patterson said an amendment was made by the Aurora City Council at the meeting to mitigate the visual impacts of the tank.

“City staff and the applicant are working to accomplish this, but no specific details are available at this time,” she said.

The WISE partnership is expected to generate money for the city as WISE members pay Aurora for a wholesale supply of potable water.

According to city documents, Aurora is expected to receive $7 million from water delivery fees when water delivery begins in 2020. That money would be used to pay down debt and operating costs for the city’s Prairie Waters system.

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Silver Fox
Silver Fox
7 years ago

Has anyone every looked at the two extremely tall radio towers at Smokey Hill Road and E-470? How about the FAA space ship that landed just east of Smokey and E-470. Both the towers and space ship have been there for years, long before the “neighbors” moved in. Clearly, the water tank is necessary to support “life” in the area too. Folks need to get over themselves and move forward with infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone in the area. Build the tank!

AResident
AResident
7 years ago
Reply to  Silver Fox

Of course we need infrastructure upgrades like this tank to continue supporting population growth, but there should be ways to build it without creating anther eyesore in that area. There is a huge water tank next to the tall radio towers along Gun Club Road next to ECCV water, but it is mostly under ground and unnoticeable.

Silver Fox
Silver Fox
7 years ago
Reply to  AResident

Is it unnoticeable because of the tall towers, the super highway, the hundreds of stores and strip-malls, the thousands of rooftops? Or does is just blend in with the noise in the area? And 25 feet is well below the allowed flagpole, cell tower, McDonalds Golden Arches rooftop heights. The “huge” tank is only “huge” when you say it’s huge. In reality, the “huge” tank is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the man-made structures in the area.

Build the tank!

Another resident
Another resident
7 years ago
Reply to  Silver Fox

Well, it sounds like they are at least going to consider mitigating the visual impacts to some degree….as long as it doesn’t increase the cost or potential revenue stream to the city I guess. 6075 ft elevation won’t work?.

A
A
7 years ago
Reply to  Silver Fox

It is unnoticeable because it is below grade, like it should be. There are other examples of water tanks in the area built in the same manner. It is called innovation.

Tallyns resident
Tallyns resident
7 years ago
Reply to  Silver Fox

They aren’t talking about building a flagpole. Picture three 100′ diameter tanks towering 25′ on top of the hill there. Slightly different than building a McDonald’s. Drive by smokey hill and Buckley for an idea of what it will look like. The Aurora residents don’t gain anything from the tanks. The benefits are solely for Douglas County residents. I think they should look at building it west of Rocking Horse. It’s higher there (elev 6200) and it’s in Douglas County.