Following a public hearing about selling of 2,830 feet of an easement bordering the Kewash Nature Trail, the Washington County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the $28,830 sale to the …
Following a public hearing about selling of 2,830 feet of an easement bordering the Kewash Nature Trail, the Washington County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the $28,830 sale to the developer of a duplex on 5th Street to meet minimum lot requirements. However, prior the vote, supervisor Marcus Fedler, calling the situation “ridiculous” and noted that the county was forced into a position resulting from mistakes on the part of the developer and the City of Washington.
Although he developer agreed to what Fedler said was “a ridiculously high price” Fedler decried that no one involved acknowledged the mistake that led to the Washington County Conservation Board (who owns the 14 mile Kewash Nature Trail) to consider the sale.
Supervisor Stan Stoops, who serves on the WCCB board, explained that the price clearly was to discourage setting any precedent and likely will not happen again with WCCB property.
Zach Rozmus, the WCCB executive director, explained that there were three meetings with the Board of Adjustment about the easement, “that this was not an “easy decision” and that the WCCB and the city have had a long, good working relationship, including the trail creation. Rozmus also told the board that all the easement land is still a railroad right of way, that were the railroad to return, however unlikely it seems now, it would go back to it. The trail, which runs from Washington to Keota, follows the railroad right of way, including areas with and most without rails.
While there was public comment in the easement hearing, prior to the start the meeting, more than a dozen residents who arrived and, once the meeting officially opened, indicated they expected to discuss the possible use of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Chairman Richard Young explained that it was not part of Tuesday’s agenda, that it was the subject of a work session that would follow at about 10 a.m.. after the regular session. He added that no official action can be taken in a work session, that the issue would be “put on a future agenda” for action. He also outlined for the group, which had a Spanish translator to relate Young’s statements to them, that they could request to be on the agenda regarding the ARPA and also suggested that any letters or position statements could be given to the board well in advance. Even more, he outlined the time frame to allow public posting of an agenda and time for people to plan to attend the official meeting.
By the end of the Tuesday meeting and just prior to the start of the works session, the group, which had left before the public hearing began, returned for the work session. The county has received approximately $4.4 million in ARPA funds and has a “wish list” provided by county departments and other organizations, as well as residents, regarding possible use of the COVID-19 relief money.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here