Ownership of a 16-foot strip of land that was once part of city alley will remain unchanged while the city and two businesses negotiate how to resolve boundaries, a 50-year encroachment and city …
Ownership of a 16-foot strip of land that was once part of city alley will remain unchanged while the city and two businesses negotiate how to resolve boundaries, a 50-year encroachment and city utility easements.
Monday, the Kalona City Council tabled action on what it hoped would be the sale of the approximate 308-foot long strip to two adjoining businesses after a public hearing brought up a miscalculation in the footage, easement issues and a reluctance by the business owners to pay more than $2,000 each for the land strip.
Lynn Helmuth, owner of Kalona Auto, who has started a major addition and expansion project, noted that the original building encroachment on the city land dates back to 1947 or 48.
He told the council that he would pay all legal fees involved in resolving the issues and give the city its needed easements “for $1 or whatever it takes to make it legal.”
Dwight Bender who owned Dwight’s Oil Company that recently was sold, said he did not believe there had been a boundary problem when he bought the property in 1976.
In view of the recent sale of the business, he has no interest in acquiring more land, although he agreed it would be a good idea to resolve the matter.
City Administrator Doug Morgan explained that when he originally had calculated the area, he thought the amount for Dwight’s was less.
“But it works out to be just about the same amount of land.”
At its October 18 meeting, the council voted to sell the land at $1 per square foot which would have meant a cost of $2,480 per buyer.
Monday both Bender and Helmuth noted that the situation is not a typical one and councilman Jerry Kauffman agreed, noting that previous city land sales have involved the buyer initially approaching the city.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that Morgan found that the city sewer line in one area is not on the Bender property, “but is on Keith Davisson’s (The Parts Shop). That means we will have to obtain an easement from him.”
The council tabled the issue to permit time for Morgan and City Attorney Michael Brenneman to meet with the two landowners and negotiate an agreement and come to the council with it.
Following a brief discussion about the Kalona Public Library’s request to seek an architect, the council approved the move provided that the city be involved in the hiring of one.
Specifically, the council members noted that since the city would be paying for the services, it should have a role in the selection of the architect.
Councilman Dave Droz suggested that the council be concerned only with the final interviewing of possibly three candidates.
Morgan said that most likely the city’s buildings and grounds committee should be involved.
Hiring of an architect is the next step in the planning for a new building that probably will be on the same site.
Library Board President Scott Stapleton told the council last month that it probably will be January before information is received from architects.
In other business, the council:
•was told by Morgan that the city’s telephone system needs upgrading, something that would cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
•learned that City Hall Day, to meet with local legislators, is November 10 and that Kalona’s meeting would be in Pella. However, Morgan said “we can also attend the one in Iowa City that night.” Issues for discussion are land use and deregulation of the electrical industry.
•accepted the paving projects and authorized payment to meet the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) certification deadline. Projects were 3rd St. paving and C Avenue asphalting.
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