Man says city of Mesa wants him to pay for fire hydrant

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PHOENIX -- For many, living outside of the city definitely has it perks. But one Valley man has discovered there can also be a major downside.

He lives out in the country and he's still fighting with the city.

Here's the deal. When you live way outside the city limits and in the country, many folks dig a well for well water.

But one man actually had a second option, an option he wishes he didn't choose for the new home he built.

"It's the wide-open spaces," Tom Kane said. "It's like you're living in the country, but the freeway is just a few minutes away. So it's a great place to live."

When Kane was building his rural home out in the country, he had two options for water: Dig a well for well water or connect to the city of Mesa's water line, a water line that just happens to run right in front of his rural home.

"I let them know I'm building a home and I'd like to tap into their water main in the street so I can have water for the home," Kane said.

Now, Kane's house technically isn't inside the city of Mesa, it's in a county island. However, the city approved his request for water service just as long as Kane paid all the costs involved in tapping into the water line.

"At the time, they said fine and they gave me a price of $5,000 in impact fees, which I was willing to pay," Kane said.

Kane paid everything and has water.

However, he says, the city of Mesa wants him to do something else now. Out of his own pocket, the city is demanding him to pay to install a fire hydrant, too -- something Kane says was not part of the deal.

"We have to pay for a fire hydrant," Kane said. "We have to hire an engineer to design plans of the fire hydrant. We have to pay for permits for the fire hydrant and we have to pay for the installation of the fire hydrant."

The cost? Ten thousand dollars -- an amount Kane doesn't think he should have to foot the bill for.

"I mean, what's next?" Kane said. "Are they going to tell me I'm going to have to put up a street light and pay for it? When will it ever end? It's not fair."

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered that Kane was considering converting his home into an adult care facility capable of housing up to 16 adults.

Mesa says, as part of turning a home into a business, certain requirements have to be met, including installing a fire hydrant.

So as long as Kane does not convert his house into an adult living facility he's fine, he will not need a fire hydrant.

Kane says at this time he's leaving his house as a single-family residence and is glad 3 On Your Side was glad to clear up the confusion.

The city of Mesa provided us with the following written statement regarding the matter:

"The property in question was annexed into the City as a single family dwelling with R3 occupancy. All appropriate impact fees and other related permit fees were paid according the building purposes at that time.

When the property owner(s) approached the City of Mesa looking at changing the purpose of the dwelling from a single-family dwelling unit to an assisted-living, residential care facility for the elderly, which requires an R-4 occupancy, there were certain additional requirements and/or modifications that needed to take place to bring the facility into compliance with appropriate municipal codes. These included adding fire sprinklers to the home, providing minimal accessibility, adding hard surfaces for exits (sidewalks), installing a street light, and installing a fire hydrant.

If the home remains as a single-family resident with no assisted-living commercial operations, the above-referenced requirements/modifications are not mandated."

Steven M. Wright Director Office of Public Information & Communications