Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Jan. 17, 2000

Annexation denied on 3-2 vote

By Andrea Vargo

Annexation of the Tom Ryan property on the east edge of Waverly was denied by a 3-2 vote by the Waverly City Council Tuesday.

Heated discussion followed the motion to annex the 44 acres owned by Ryan.

Mayor Charles Bush said he felt it would be a good addition to the city.

"If the council does not approve the annexation, it might as well put up signs at both ends of the city saying, 'leave us alone,'" Bush commented.

The land is increasing in value, and when the Highway 12 project is finished, that will be a valuable piece of property, said Bush.

Councilmember John Hertzog argued against the annexation, saying he doesn't want the city stuck with another housing project that is only partly finished.

"Is it legal to request a development agreement along with the annexation?" asked Hertzog.

Attorney Jennifer Ford, liaison from City Attorney Tim Young's office, said the city could require that a development agreement be filed with the annexation application, but if the development dates come and go with no progress, the annexation is still valid.

Bush said he felt the city should not get involved in the development agreement until the property owner has definite plans.

"It makes us look smarter, if we get more involved. Anyway, we have enough land right now (to develop)," said Hertzog.

Hertzog is concerned about the city's infrastructure being able to handle a sudden influx of housing.

"We are talking about two totally different pieces of property and two different individuals," said Councilmember Dave Fournier.

"And, we have already discussed the infrastructure," he said.

Councilmember Jerry McRaith said he is concerned about buying something we don't know about.

A development plan should be in place before the city annexes that land, he stated.

"It is like interviewing someone to buy your house. You can't do that," stated Bush.

That opens the city up to a discrimination lawsuit, he said.

For the best interest of Waverly, Bush said he hoped five minds collectively could do what is best for the city rather than individuals.

Any development agreement has to go through planning and zoning and also through the city council, said Bush.

The land would collect taxes for the city now, and more when it is developed, he said.

"I don't know how we can refuse to annex. We don't have a choice. We have annexed others into the city without development plans," Bush noted.

Ford commented that the city could possibly be sued for discrimination.

Hertzog and McRaith were both concerned the city might have to spend money on the property, even though Bush assured them that any plans would have to be approved by the council.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Adrian Duske was visibly upset at the way the discussion was going and said, "This council spent how much money to develop a land use plan that you people accepted? Now, you are saying you need another plan."

He agreed that voting down the annexation would have the effect of making Waverly an island.

"We are not reinventing the wheel here, folks. The property fits the land use plan for potential development," said Bush.

Hertzog, McRaith, and Councilmember Pam Henry-Neaton, who didn't get involved in the discussion, voted against the annexation, while Bush and Fournier voted for it.

Planning and zoning

The planning commission submitted a recommendation to the council to approve Steve LaPlant's concept plan for the development of property adjacent to the Summerfields housing addition for a car wash, laundromat, gas station, and convenience store.

The approval is contingent upon the submittal of the site plan by LaPlant, verifying that all zoning regulations are met.

A letter will be sent that approves the concept plan and stresses the requirement for a site plan.

Maintenance report

The well number three project, planned by Maintenance Supervisor John Rassat, requires cleaning and painting the tank and is a budgeted item. It will cost between $8,300 and $9,000, he said.

Work includes installation of a 24-inch manhole, a pressure switch, and a riser pipe that will prevent sludge from getting into the waterlines.

Also, the inside of the tank will be sandblasted, vacuumed, and cleaned, then primer and two coats of urethane will be applied.

Some of the pits on the inside of the tank are up to one-half inch deep, and the welding is $95 per hour to fix all those, said Rassat.

Rassat suggested purchasing a bladder tank for the interim, when the regular tank is off-line.

This saves on electricity, as well as wear and tear on the pump, he said. Otherwise, the water would be pumped continually for about 10 days, while the tank is being repaired.

Cost of the bladder tank is $800, but the company will buy it back for $500 when the city is finished with it, he said.

The council approved the purchase of the bladder tank and the work that needs to be done to repair the regular water tank.

Other business

- A letter requesting an updated time line for the Humphrey Museum project will be sent to the museum board.

- Irene Woitalla and Dave Cade, insurance agents, requested the opportunity to make a bid for the city's insurance policies. The council directed Ryks to provide them with information on the city's current policy with Burkstrand Agency of Howard Lake to use for a basis of comparison. Cade said his company has saved the City of Delano money over the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust commissions for many years.

- Waverly will have its own Web site and domain name soon. Except for McRaith, who voted against it, the council voted to have the city's information available to the public on the Web.

Minutes to council meetings will also be available to the public on-line, said Ryks.

- The council is concerned about an access for Summerfields residents when the Highway 12 improvement project gets underway. Ryks was instructed to contact the developer and request that he consider putting his second access into place soon. The developer has no time line for that to be in place, said City Clerk Debbie Ryks.

- Five thousand dollars was transferred from the general fund to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) fund for start-up operating expenses.

McRaith asked if the city could get this repaid.

"No. This is an investment in the city," said Bush.

Ford told the council it could look at the EDA's reserve funds each year and require some of those be paid to the city, if it wished.

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