There is an extensive amount of interest in building residential additions within the city limits. But a lack of infrastructure has forced the city council to place a moratorium on all residential growth.
Lone Grove City Manager Ian O’Neal said the city has outgrown its infrastructure in terms of being able to provide water to additional residences. The council voted on the moratorium during a meeting last week. O’Neal said the issue comes down to both water and water storage, and applies to residences requiring a permit to hook onto city water.
Activity within the city depletes the tower’s storage throughout the day, which leads to a lack of water pressure during the evening. The city’s wells are strained to keep up with the water usage during the summer months.
“At 5 p.m., peak usage occurs, and it causes low water pressure,” he said.
The city has also had its share of issues with its wells, and currently has five wells operating, although O’Neal said one is a small well. The city is currently drilling a new well, but it is not certain whether it will provide enough water to offset current issues.
The well comes with a price tag of $340,000.
“We are using an existing well house, otherwise it would cost $500,000 and the city does not have that kind of money to build another well,” O’Neal said.
While the moratorium does not apply to businesses, O’Neal said the lack of water does curtail growth within the city.
“I have had four different contractors wanting to build 100 houses each,” O’Neal said. “Water sales are our bread and butter, and people say, ‘you are killing yourself.’ But we don’t have the water to sell.”
The moratorium has put a dagger in a current Chickasaw housing project, which O’Neal said was planned for 71 houses. The current situation dictates only six houses will be placed in the addition at this point. The moratorium also applies to the city’s trailer parks, as there will be no permits issued for city water hook-ups.
O’Neal said Lone Grove does have the ability to purchase water from Ardmore, and it is a solution that could be considered. First, the city will consider a rate increase on its water. O’Neal said at this point, it is not certain whether purchasing water from Ardmore is a financially viable solution given the need to earn enough revenue for upkeep.
“There is no quick-fix solution,” he said. “One solution is a water tower or new wells. And the ultimate answer is a lake, but who can afford that, and we need rain.
“I would love for people to come out here and build homes. But we can’t support them with our current infrastructure.”