Council deals with land issues

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Real estate was the main topic for the City Council at their March 14 meeting.

The council initiated the process for obtaining a small parcel needed for the Milwaukee Street railroad crossing closing.

They tabled the resolution of the overlap of the Dino’s restaurant building and city park land.

After discussion in closed session, the council took no action on the issue at 19 S. Milwaukee St.

Travis Lambrecht, who has taken over operation of the long-standing restaurant owned and run for years by his uncle Dean Lambrecht, discovered while attempting to finalize purchase of the building from his uncle’s estate that the northern wall of the building and the adjacent north driveway are actually on city-owned land in Bade Utility Park.

Both the Park Committee and the Plan Commission endorsed a proposal to sell Lambrecht a 25-foot strip of land in the park to enable him to complete the purchase and planned upgrades there.

After the council’s closed session, Mayor Donald Pohlman announced that the city will be drafting a legal agreement to present to Lambrecht, although he did not say what the agreement would contain.

He did say he expects the issue to come back before the council at their next meeting, March 28, for possible final action.

The council authorized a relocation order for a vacant, triangular-shaped .15-acre parcel on the west side of North Milwaukee Street south of Elizabeth Street and a vacant building on Western Avenue.

“This piece of property is part of the closing (plan),” City Administrator Brian Yerges told the council.

That plan has been filed with the state Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, who ordered the crossing closed last year, Yerges said.

Under that order, the area around the former crossing must be restored so that “a driver on the parallel roadway (Western Avenue) will not be able to tell there was once a roadway at that location.”

Yerges said the plan is to put in landscaping along the southern end of what was the North Milwaukee Street/Western Avenue intersection, including the parcel the city is looking to acquire.

“Sartori is going to install the landscaping plantings and maintain them,” as part of the closing plan, Yerges added.

City Attorney Crystal Fieber noted one of the reasons allowed for a city to acquire private property for public purposes is for streets and transportation.

“This is the first step in the eminent domain proceedings for highway and transportation facility acquisitions,” Fieber said of the resolution, which was passed unanimously by the council.

On the recommendation of the Public Works and Utilities Committee, the council approved the installation of 16 street lights in the Tumblers Ridge subdivision on the city’s west side.

“The developers of Tumblers Ridge made contact with city staff staff last year and requested that the street lighting be installed,” Yerges told the council.

There is sufficient development in the subdivision to warrant the lights, the committee decided.

Yerges said the plan is to install all but two of the planned street lights. Those two are at the western edge of the subdivision, where development has yet to take place.

The committee felt those lights are not needed yet and should wait until development reaches that area and/or until plans are brought forth for the future of property to the west.

Yerges said the conduit for the lights are already in place and installation should take place sometime this year.

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