David and Julia French's real estate agent had warned them about water problems in Swancreek Township.
But after three conversations with the township clerk and reading about the water district's plans, the couple say they understood public water lines were imminent. In August they paid $207,000 for a home built in 2001 on just under an acre on Fulton County Road 1.
The water from their sand point well, however, turned out to be worse than they had thought. The day the couple moved in, two water conditioning companies said the water had too much iron and tannic acid to clean up.
So Mr. French bought a $1,500 trailer and three water tanks for $250 each to haul water from Swanton about two miles away. He pays $5 for 750 gallons of water.
The tanks are hooked to the home's plumbing so that the Swanton water flows from all the taps. But Mr. French, 37, a warehouse operations manager, said he fears he won't be able to sell his house for the price he paid and he's unhappy about the space the tanks take in his garage and the 45 minutes a week he spends hauling water. Mrs. French, 36, is a laid-off telecommunications project engineer.
To Mr. French, who grew up in Lucas County's Springfield Township and moved back to northwest Ohio, from Aurora, Ill., west of Chicago, public water seems like such a boon that he was stunned when controversy flared.
“If it doesn't go through, everyone's going to be damaged,” he said. “I believe it's going to dramatically reduce the marketability of this area.”
To him, residential development in the township is inevitable and welcome. He said he thinks his home would be worth more if a subdivision of quality new homes was built behind it instead of the farm fields there now. Opposition to public water based on the idea that it will spur development is elitist, he said. Some who say they want to slow development have only recently moved to the township themselves, he said.
“I don't understand why they think they're so superior they get to choose when development stops. `OK, I'm here now. Development stops,'” he said.