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Council approves 9th Street extension plans

By Staff | Jun 13, 2014

The Rugby City Council approved a plan to extend 9th Street SW to the east for access to the Chalmers Addition housing project.

The council approved the second option in a packet of three choices presented at a special meeting held June 5 at City Hall.

The vote was 6-2 in favor of continuing 9th Street – across 5th Avenue – curving the road slightly to the south in order to continue having 9th Street at a width of 42 feet.

Bill Hartl, who attended the meeting as a citizen and not as city attorney, agreed to give 12 feet of his land north of the road extension for $8,000. The 12-foot depth on the southern edge of Hartl’s property will extend east along his property from the intersection of 9th Street and 5th Avenue.

A six-inch curb will be added on the edge of Hartl’s property to address a longstanding issue of excess water on the property. The road also will be designed to better disperse water in various directions. The southern side of the 9th Street extension will have parallel parking.

Wade Senger of Interstate Engineering joined the meeting on a conference call to answer questions on the options drawn at the council’s request.

Ward 2 Councilmen Gary Kraft and Dave Bednarz voted against the option.

“I think it’s a good alternative,” said Ward 4 Councilman Terry Wentz, chairman of the Water, Sewer and Streets Committee. “It (resolves) the issue of a narrow road and now it’s wide. I think it’s a good compromise for both sides.”

The first option would have kept the road going straight at a width of 42 feet, but would have required an additional 10 feet to the north on top of the 12 feet Hartl agreed to at the council’s regular meeting on June 2.

The third option, which was tabled on June 2, called for a width of 30 feet.

“When it came down to what I was finally going to do, I agreed to 12 feet,” Hartl said. “It got nasty after that. Before my max was 10 feet, but if two (more) feet can work for the city, I can make it work for me.”

Kraft was in favor of the first option because he is concerned about the safety of the intersection with 9th Street slightly breaking to the south.

“I still think we have a shot at doing this right and making it straight,” Kraft said. “If having curves in the road way was a good idea we’d have them all over town. What would 10 more feet cost us?”

Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt and Ward 4 Councilman Arland Geiszler argued against having to take Hartl to court for more land, foreseeing an expensive process.

Kraft also expressed frustration about what he deemed a lack of communication between council members concerning the issue. Lotvedt said the council’s Finance Committee approved the purchase of an 11-foot easement to the project in March 2013. Lotvedt said the finance committee should have reported this to the full council at the regular meeting April 2013. (Published minutes from that committee meeting show that Ward 3 Councilman Jim Hoffert made a motion to “purchase a minimum of 11 feet, or more if it is needed, from Hartl in amount not to exceed the lesser of the cost of the gravel project or $8,000, and to not make this part of the housing project.” A second was made by Kraft and approved by the committee. Committee approvals need to be voted on by the council. No motion was made at the April 2013 council meeting and minutes show that Hoffert stated “it would be better to have a full width of 9th Street, however it is not clear if that is possible yet.”

Hoffert questioned the first and second options, but felt a difficult decision was needed to keep the Chalmers Addition project on schedule.)

“I understand Gary wanted to do it right the first time, but I also understand the difficulty. To expedite this project, Option 2 appears to be the best choice.”

Joel Berg, who was elected for Ward 3 Tuesday, asked the council to consider that Senger recommended the first option.

Jayme Berube expressed discontent with what he perceived to be the council’s take on eminent domain.

Lotvedt clarified a previous statement and said eminent domain doesn’t work at appraised value. Geiszler affirmed that eminent domain is always an option.

Darin Williams also spoke and expressed frustration with the council’s handling of the situation. Williams was opposed to the second option.`

“As a young citizen with a family, I think it’s detrimental to young people who don’t see how things work here,” Williams said.

Also approved at the special meeting was the use of reinforced fabric, except in the southern third of the Chalmers Addition. The southern part has a different soil, which doesn’t require the fabric.

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