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Canton denies request to vacate alley

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in Canton Government

The request to vacate the alley between 301 & 303 East Fillmore Avenue in Canton was denied at the Canton City Council meeting on July 9.

The request was made by Canton residents Holly and Jamie Knutson at the city council meeting in May and a public hearing for discussion was held on June 11. The alley is located between the Knutson and Newman properties and is not in use.

Mayo Donivee Johnson read the findings of the city council before putting Resolution No. 72014 granting vacation of the alley to a roll call vote. The findings of the council were as follows:

1. In reviewing the areas within the City Limits that have the potential to become desirable building lots for housing, the property now occupied by the school building and property extending to the east are viable lands for new construction.

2. The Council has determined that vacating any portion of platted alleys or platted streets in this section of the city limits would not be in the interest of the public. It is the duty of the City Council to make these determinations with a vision towards the future and to protect those areas granted to the City in the original plat for the purpose of providing future services and utilities to specific areas within the city limits.

3. Due to the fact that once an alley or street has been vacated it is nearly impossible to get it back, Minnesota statutes establish that the City Council may vacate a street or alley only upon a finding that the vacation is “in the interest of the public.” The public includes persons other than those in the immediate vicinity of the vacation. Mere long-term, non-use of a street or alley ground does not necessarily equate with a finding that the vacation is in the interest of the public.

There were no findings by the council that vacation of the stated alley will benefit the public. Councilmembers Hank Seldon, Ross Duckett, Cindy Shanks and Mayor Johnson voted against the resolution, thereby declining to vacate the alley. Councilor Carl Ernst was not present.

Other Business

Mayor Johnson provided an update on the progress of the new government building. The sheetrock has been hung and the roof will be insulated soon. Paint and flooring samples will be obtained for the council to review and a new back door step will be built. It is still hard to say when it will be complete, but it already looks great from the outside and the mayor said she is hearing good reports about the improvement.

Town engineer Jon Nordsving reported that the concrete needs to be fixed or replaced in front of the new government building because there is a big lip between the sidewalk and curb. The lip runs the full width of the building, about three sidewalk sections, but the sidewalk is in good condition. The option of mud jacking was discussed and it was agreed that Nordsving should look into the cost. A motion also passed for him to spend $1,000 to get a new air compressor for the city shop to replace the old one.

Nordsving also discussed with the council what remains to be done in preparation for Canton Day Off. He needs a map of the fence layout for the area that will be enclosed and estimated about 900 feet will need to be covered. The City has about 400 feet of fence and will use barricades in some areas to keep the fences to a minimum, but will need to obtain some additional fencing. Nordsving will also be getting paint for the pumphouse, pressure washing the garage by Town Hall and contacting the county to sweep the streets to help Canton look its best for the celebration.

The council also discussed the need for many trees to be trimmed along Main Street so that roads and sidewalks are clear. The City will be sending notices to property owners with trees in need of trimming. They will be given three business days to do the necessary trimming before the City will do the work and assess the owner.

Councilor Cindy Shanks passed out information cards for the 135th Canton Day Off on August 15-17. The cards provide the history of the celebration, as well as a schedule of events, and will be in local visitor centers and distributed to Canton alumni. Registration for events and t-shirts are available at www.cantondayoff.com. Additional events have already been added, so check online for the most up-to-date schedule. Also, food vendors are still needed. If interested, please contact the City Clerk’s office at (507) 743-5000.

The next regular meeting of the Canton City Council is on Wednesday, August 13, at 7 p.m.

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