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Friday, October 24th, 2014
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Preston works through property issues


Fri, Aug 8th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

Numerous items on the August 4 Preston City Council agenda involved property issues. Councilman David Harrison was absent.

Lot 1 (2.14 acres) of the Northwest Industrial Park is expected to be purchased by Rockny Moger, Bluff Country Manufacturing. The proposal from the city was to rezone this lot from B-2 Highway Commercial to I-1 Industrial. City Administrator Joe Hoffman said the city generally tries to avoid spot zoning, but it is expected here. Planning and Zoning held a public hearing and recommended approval. The council approved the rezoning of Lot 1 to I-1.

Trish Keating had requested a variance to spit her lot on Valley St. NE into two lots, providing a second buildable lot. Her home is on the north side of the parcel. The parcel is 120 foot x 120 foot and splitting it will result in two parcels each 60 x 120. The city ordinance requires a minimum of 8,000 square feet and these two parcels would only be 7,200 square feet each. P and Z held a public hearing and recommended approval of the split. The council approved both the variance for the smaller lot size and the lot split into two parcels.

Andy Bahl and Karen Haugerud wanted to know if a consolidation of two lots of the Golfview Estates could potentially be approved. They are considering purchasing a couple of these lots when they become available at the tax forfeiture auction in the next month or so. P and Z recommended that the council look favorably on the consolidation of a couple of lots. The council could not approve a consolidation this day as Bahl and Haugerud do not own the lots. If they purchase the lots and apply to eliminate a lot line the council indicated that they would probably be supportive. Mayor Kurt Reicks noted that one larger house on two lots could add a similar amount to the city’s tax base as two smaller homes each on a separate lot. The lot lines were originally drawn for twin homes.

Laurice Kneeskern described the issue she has encountered with the sale of her property on Winona St. A potential buyer’s realtor has been working with Greg Schwarz to get an accurate property map. Her house may be in part on another property. Hoffman said vacating what is left of Winona St. will not entirely solve the problem. Kneeskern noted that part of Winona St. was vacated in 1957. The survey of the property had been done incorrectly. Hoffman said the situation might be resolved with quick claim deeds, adding a correction is needed. Kneeskern needs to have clear title to sell the property. City Attorney Dwight Luhmann suggested they wait until they hear from Schwarz to resolve this. In order to keep things moving, the council called for a public hearing on August 20 on the proposed vacation of Winona St. Reicks assured Kneeskern that the council will work with her the best they can.

Last fall the Hazel Knies family expressed an interest in selling her house through the ‘flood buyout program.’ An application was submitted last fall. During the application process, the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan expired. Homeland Security and Emergency Management denied the city’s application because of the expired plan. The county is in the process of updating their plan, but an updated plan will most likely not be adopted until early next summer. The city will have the option to reapply for the flood buyout program. In the mean time, the Knies family will put the house up for sale. Luhmann noted that the city’s purchase agreement with Knies for the property was conditional on receiving funding from FEMA and the DNR.

Other Business In Brief

•Ambulance Director Ryan Throckmorton explained that Preston was awarded the mission lifeline grant. LifePak 15 monitors were ordered and will replace the current AEDs in the ambulances. He said the units are pretty new. Throckmorton explained that government related areas within the city will get AEDs next year or already have them because of a nationally competitive grant program secured by Fillmore County. He said F & M Bank is interested in one of the used AEDs. Other possible businesses that may be interested were discussed.

•A public hearing had been held on June 25 on the city’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan. P and Z recommended approval. The council approved the 48 page document as presented.

The next council meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 20.

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