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New surveys bring back bike trail controversy

Fri, Mar 6th, 2009
Posted in Government

David Joerg explained the need for a revised resolution to authorize Eminent Domain to acquire Ristau and Snyder properties for the proposed Forestville Trail at the council's March 2 meeting. The council initially authorized Eminent Domain in October of 2007. The need for the revised resolution was the recognition that prior surveys split a corn field owned by John and Bernadette Snyder. A special closed meeting was held for about 45 minutes prior to the regular council meeting to discuss the Forestville Trail with the attorney representing the city, David Joerg.

The new survey will show that 2.18 acres of Snyder property will now be sought, less than the 2.52 acres before. The land to be annexed from Vernon and Kay Ristau would be increased including a .37 acre parcel and a 3.44 acre parcel.

Vernon Ristau asked if the council was aware that they still don't want to turn over our land. He seemed eager to take it to court and get it over with. Ristau noted that Councilman Robert Sauer had earlier suggested that it will probably take a third party to resolve the issue. Sauer said that the new survey and the revised resolution were part of the process. Ristau maintained that the area planned for the trail flooded last year. Kay Ristau complained that e-mails sent to them and their lawyer from Joerg also went to Dan Christianson, the banker. She insisted, "Our banker doesn't have to know everything." Mayor Kurt Reicks agreed with her complaint and asked Joerg to not include Christianson. John Snyder agreeing with Ristau said that it was time they got this behind them.

The revised resolution for Eminent Domain was approved with a 3-1 vote. David Collett voted against the resolution.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman said that there has been a misunderstanding about the possible cost to the city for the Eminent Domain issue. David Joerg has agreed to act as the city's attorney on the issue without pay. However, bills have come in for $4,400 for appraisals and $4,030 for surveying. Hoffman said that these expenses should be reimbursed by the DNR in the end. Todd Ristau made it clear that the reimbursement would only come if the city won. The council approved paying the bills.

Corson Condominiums

Andy Bunge spoke in favor of approving the rezoning for the condos and the Conditional Use Permits (CUP). Sauer said that he would vote in favor of the rezoning from R-3 to Institutional-Office-Residential (IOR) for the mixed use of motel and apartments. He made it clear that he was not happy with the way the Corsons got to this point. Sauer said they should have checked with the city to see if it was OK for a mixed use, saying a simple phone call would have helped. He said that the R-3 classification was not appropriate and that he would "hold his nose" and vote for the change to IOR. The rezoning was approved.

The CUP for the motel was approved with 4 conditions involving parking requirements, notifying clients of off street parking, limits on signage, and marked hard surface parking slots. The CUP for the apartments was approved with a requirement of two hard surface parking spaces per apartment.

Other Business In Brief

•Budget revisions were approved for a total of about $30,000. Hoffman has noted that the city is likely facing a $60,000 reduction in Local Government Aid for 2009. The other $30,000 is to be taken from the city's street repair fund. Hoffman suggested that the cuts represented about a 2.6% reduction for most departments except the police department. Sauer complimented the street department on doing a great job removing snow. Hoffman commended the department heads on their cooperation.

•Two variance requests and a driveway access were approved for Jeff Bennett on Parkside Drive. He wants to build a 26' x 48' detached garage. The variances were for a reduced set back from the property line and a reduced set back from his house. It was noted that there were no objections at the Planning and Zoning meeting and that approval was recommended.

•A 1973 pumper truck will be advertised for sale by the Fire Department on e-bay with a $2500 reserve.

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