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Templeton will take a deeper look at its water policies 

The Templeton Community Services District recently looked at a set of potential water policy priorities that were brought to their attention back in February—opting to look further into policies that differ from what the community wants.

click to enlarge PRIORITIES The Templeton Community Services District laid out a priority list of its water policies to research in-depth and tackle. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE TEMPLETON COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
  • Image Courtesy Of The Templeton Community Services District
  • PRIORITIES The Templeton Community Services District laid out a priority list of its water policies to research in-depth and tackle.

It includes an incentive program for property owners who want to sell back or "relinquish" their water units, the ability to transfer water units between properties owned by the same individual, a landscape retrofit program, and updating the way the district calculates single-family dwelling unit equivalent water demand.

The board unanimously voted to first research a landscape retrofitting program to reduce water use and permitting property owners to transfer water units that are not in service to another property they own.

During the Dec. 1 district board meeting, six public commenters had the same message for the board, calling for community workshops to create more effective programs for transferring and relinquishing water units and updating the single-family dwelling unit equivalent.

Public commenter Jessica Main, former executive director of the Templeton Chamber of Commerce, said she spoke with a property owner who didn't want to participate in the meeting because "nothing ever gets done." The resident took issue with the fact that the district doesn't currently have any new water meters available for purchase in the community unless someone gives up their meter.

"He says, 'Why would you want to sell back your house for what you bought it for 20 years ago?' They don't want to relinquish their water meters for $2,000 when you guys turn around and sell them for the big price tag that you're selling them for now," Main said.

The bigger picture, she said, is to work with the community on these water policies to make water meters available and bring in more development so that the district can receive the funding it needs.

"I'm really concerned that in 10 years we are not going to have enough money coming into the community district funds to keep the recreation and fire department going," she said.

Other public commenters said they were more interested in the district's water unit relinquishment program than any of the other policies. According to a staff report, current district rules allow for a property owner with unconnected or excess water units to relinquish water units back to the district, which, in turn, are made available to properties on a waitlist.

In order to process a relinquishment, the original property owner pays a fee of $500. Once the units are assigned to a new parcel, the original owner is refunded the amount that was originally paid for the water unit.

In 2014, the district implemented a one-year incentivized relinquishment program that waived the fee and the district refunded the amount that was originally paid for the units, plus interest. The district said the program was not successful.

District board member Navid Fardanesh said the district has been having issues with water management and wastewater capacity, so it must correct those issues before taking on other issues.

The district currently doesn't have the wastewater treatment capacity for additional growth. Another challenge the district has is its engineering department, which is staffed by one person.

After laying out its priority list the board also decided it will look into hiring a consultant to research all four water policies, which will be brought back to the board and the public through district meetings and workshops. Δ

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