Herald Journal, June 16, 2003
Residents, Montrose council discuss storm sewer easements
By Dave Cox
A storm sewer easement and a chasm of difference in understanding between the City of Montrose and the residents of Countryview Estates dominated the council meeting last Monday.
City engineer Brad DeWolf stated that the city has obtained bids, and now it needs easements on the Countryview Estates property to complete the storm sewer project. The route of the proposed sewer easement runs under the driveway on the property.
DeWolf also stated that he had just received a letter from the attorney for the residents' association which indicated that they were not in favor of the easements.
DeWolf said that he had not had time to read the letter thoroughly, but if no agreement could be reached, he would recommend that the city condemn the easements so that the project could move forward.
John Peterson, attorney for Countryview Estates, was present at the meeting and wished to clarify some points in the letter.
Even if the board wished to approve the easements, they are not authorized to do so without the consent of the residents, Peterson said.
He went on to say that Countryview Estates did not receive adequate notice of the proposed easements, and that the current proposal differs from a previous proposal in which the route of the easement followed an existing 10 foot utility easement along the garages.
Mayor Charlie Nelson disagreed with the assertion that Countyview Estates had not received adequate notice of the proposed easement. He stated that the project has been discussed for the past few years, and "in great detail."
Countryview Estates residents who were in attendance conceded that there had been discussions about the project, but stated that the location of this easement was new.
Council Member Dave Nordschow said that this location was determined two years ago, and that it had been discussed in detail at public meetings.
"The original plan was simpler from all perspectives. It just didn't work," Nordschow said.
DeWolf stated that the route had been changed because there was not sufficient space in the 10-foot utility easement to do the job. Running the sewer under the driveway provided adequate space, DeWolf said, and that the city would re-pave the driveway when the work was completed.
Residents expressed concern about electrical and phone lines in the area and wondered who would be responsible for repairs if they were damaged as a result of the project. Nelson said that whomever caused the damage would be responsible, and that if damage was caused by the city, the city would pay for it.
Peterson asked the council to consider an alternative in which the project would use the existing 10 foot easement, combined with additional easements from three adjoining properties.
DeWolf said, "In this plan, we are dealing with the condo's water on the condo's property. If we change it, we are dealing with the condo's water on someone else's property."
The council asked DeWolf to review the course suggested by Peterson, and asked the representatives from Countryview Estates to discuss the project at its meeting Tuesday, with the understanding that the route in the current proposal for the easement may be the only viable course.