The Norman Transcript


April 14, 2013

Homeowner’s association seeks private well



Cascade’s situation also is unique because the plan involves drilling under five public streets. Concerns by city council members include what happens if the HOA goes defunct in later years and the streets collapse because of the boring.

According to city staff notes, private sprinkler systems are often installed in the public rights of way without the city’s knowledge. Those systems don’t bore under streets, however. Norman has allowed use of the public right of way in limited circumstances — most commonly through the use of a revocable license. In the case of Fountain View Addition, archways above ground were allowed at the entrance to the addition. Restaurants also have been issued revocable licenses for patios in the rights of way.

In these instances, an annual license fee is required.

“Requests for below-ground encroachments into the right of way to entities other than franchised utilities are rare,” according to city staff notes.

The city council would need to establish a policy to allow HOA’s to locate irrigation systems in the rights of way. Utility providers holding franchise agreements with the city would have to sign off on the permits, city staff said.

Attorney Harold Heiple, who represents the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, was present at Wednesday’s meeting and said he would pass on the information to his client to get a feel for the utility’s response. He suggested other utilities be clued in regarding the ongoing discussion.

Existing city ordinances regarding the permitting of water wells are out of date, Kathryn Walker, assistant city attorney, told city leaders last month. The language needs to be tightened to reflect consistency with state law.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board regulates groundwater use and issues permits for most wells — such as municipal, industrial, agricultural, irrigation and recreation, but OWRB does not permit domestic wells, Walker said.

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