Improvement project stalls for lack of plat, agreement

June 16, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Plans for development at the intersection of Highway 12 and 15 stalled last Monday at a street improvement hearing for construction on the first 586 feet of the roadbed running west from Highway 15.

First, the attorney for Rosalind Ewald of Hutchinson, who is buying the acreage on the north side of the proposed street from Howard Page for a $3.5 million, 48-unit assisted living facility, didn’t have time to review what her assessments will be. Her attorney, Howard Page’s attorney and the city attorney were scheduled to meet June 5 to iron out a developer’s agreement for the roadbed before the hearing last Monday.

Page donated the roadbed to the city Nov. 5.

Second, Page has not provided a plat and developer’s agreement for the entire property in the northwest corner of the intersection for the city to review. Deb Suchy of the Dassel Planning and Zoning Commission insisted the council not approve any development in the property until Page provides a plat and developer’s agreement.

Page had petitioned the city for the street improvements with Statute 429 rules, because both Page and Ewald intend to pay 100 percent of the assessments.

“It’s not the process (Statute 429) to skip the process,” Suchy’s husband, Al, told the council.

After the hearing concluded, Page was asked what is holding him back from submitting a plat and developer’s agreement, which all the other developers in Dassel have provided in the past 10 years.

Page and his attorney, his son, Kelsey Page, responded that it wasn’t necessary. The memorandum of understanding that came with Page’s donation of the 2.2 acres for the street, and a letter he sent to the city outlining his vision for the property, were enough for the city to approve the estimated $461,000 street project, they said.

Chuck DeWolf provided an assessment roll that showed the 9-ton, 38-foot-wide street will cost $145.80 per linear foot, watermains will cost $42.16 per foot, storm sewers will cost $20.17 per foot, sanitary sewer will cost $34.48 per foot, and the turn lanes from Highway 15 will be $3,273.91 per acre.

Page and Ewald will be paying 100 percent of the assessments and the city will pay $33,879 for its share of the turn lanes and storm sewer for the city land to the west of Page’s land.

Suchy said only Ewald and Page needed the street improvements now. Dassel residents don’t. She questioned why the city would need to make this investment now, if residents don’t need it.

Kelsey Page countered that his father had performed what he said he’d do according to the memo of understanding from the roadbed donation.

City Administrator Myles McGrath pointed out, however, the memo said the city would initiate the building of the street, not someone else.

If the city’s land is purchased by a manufacturer, such as Spectralytics, the city could get low-interest financing from the rural Economic Development Authority for the street and other improvements, added Council Member Bob Wilde. The city will need to pay full-price now for Page’s development.

Commercial development from a plat also doesn’t need to be inhibited by uniform lot size. A commercial business or light manufacturer can buy multiple lots if it needs more land, McGrath said.

Council Member Bob Lalone told how the Haekenkamp development in Dassel was platted and had a developer’s agreement before Meeker Memorial Clinic and the Dassel branch of the Farmers State Bank of Darwin were built there.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com