Storey County may increase water hookup limit

Those waiting for their name to come up on a list for water hookups in Virginia City, Gold Hill or Silver City might not have to wait much longer.

The Storey County Commission has proposed an ordinance that would allow 50 new hookups in a one-time only release for this year.

In future years, it would increase the number of water hookups to 15 annually for Virginia City, which includes sewer, five for Gold Hill, which is water only, and 10 for Silver City, which is also water only.

Previous annual limits were set at 13 for Virginia City, three for Gold Hill and three for Silver City.

Those limits led to as long as an 11-year wait for water hookups for those who were building homes in Virginia City, Gold Hill or Silver City.

Though Silver City is in Lyon County, its water service comes from the Storey County Public Works Department.

County Commissioner Greg "Bum" Hess, a professional building contractor who has two applications for water on the list, said recently that if the county didn't use more of the Marlette Lake-Hobart Reservoir water near Lake Tahoe, the state Legislature could begin the process of putting it to use elsewhere.

The Franktown Decree stipulates Virginia City has first rights to Marlette Lake water, thanks to use that dates back to the Comstock era.

Several other professional contractors who work in Virginia City are also on the list for water hookups, which contains more than 100 names.

Hess has also pointed out that people who are high on the list are not actually getting water hookups, but could be getting on the list to add to the value of their lots, which they then sell. That forces lot owners who are ready to build to wait for water.

"There obviously isn't a lot of building going on right now," Hess said.

The Storey County Building Department issued 12 building permits in 2007 for Virginia City and Gold Hill.

Public Works Director Mike Nevin said that if a person in the top 50 on the list were not able to build, their name would go to a comparable slot or higher on the following year's list.

The ordinance stipulates that holders of permits issued before Aug. 1, 2006 have three months to submit a written request for a refund of fees, if they can't use their permits. Fees will be refunded minus a $250 administration fee.

Holders of permits issued between Aug. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2007, must act upon their permits within 10 years or the permit will expire, though if annual fees are paid, it will remain active.

Permits purchased after Dec. 31, 2007, must be acted upon within a year or the holder will be assessed an annual fee based on the current minimum yearly service rates, which are $468 for water and sewer, less for just water. If the fee is not paid within 30 days of receiving an expiration notice, the permit is void and no refund will be granted.

The service connection will be installed within 60 days of the granting of a building permit. If a permit holder requests a disconnect of the service they will pay a disconnect fee.

Nonrefundable fees for water and sewer permits cost $550 for water and sewer in Virginia City; and $250 for water only in Gold Hill and Silver City.

Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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