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WANT TO DEVELOP PROPERTY IN OREM? YOU MAY HAVE TO GIVE UP WATER RIGHTS

SHARE WANT TO DEVELOP PROPERTY IN OREM? YOU MAY HAVE TO GIVE UP WATER RIGHTS

Pretty soon, it won't be money that talks in Orem - it'll be water.

Without water rights to fork over, it won't be possible to develop in the city, according to the path set out Tuesday night for a Capital Facilities Plan by Director of Public Works Richard Manning."This is the first step in adopting an impact fee," said Manning. "It demonstrates the position of the city in meeting its current needs and creates an expectation of when and what will happen. This becomes part of a contract with those who pay the fees."

Manning said requiring people to turn over water rights with a request for development would "in a sense be an impact fee" that would fall under the legislative mandate that asks cities to defend implementation.

City attorney Paul Johnson said by legal definition the fee would be a "development exaction."

Orem needs to ask for 1.8 acre feet of water for each dwelling lot proposed by an individual or subdivision developer or land transfer, said Manning, in order to maintain a water supply that will provide for a drought.

"Our standard is to have one and a half times the per capita consumption available," he said. The current supply will sustain the city's population through the year 2004.

Without additional water, the supply will fall short by 10,461 acre feet in 2015.

"Everyone here will suffer. We need to start now to mitigate the need," said Manning who pointed out that Orem is the last city in the county to begin requiring water from developers.

"We will not accept cash," he said, because the price of water is rising too quickly to expect to keep up with it.

An acre foot of water currently sells within the county for $600. A water share will provide enough water for seven or eight lots. Shares today cost about $4,000.

Orchardman and resident Harley Gillman said the city has plenty of water for many years and should just pursue the course it's always taken.

Glade Gillman provided a counterpoint opinion as a board member of the Metropolitan Water Board. "As a board, we gave unanimous approval to this (capital facilities) plan," he said.

Lindon and Pleasant Grove forced the price of a water share up when they began demanding water with each request for development, said Glade Gillman. "So the board backed off."