City feels pressure after Chestnut St. lot sits empty

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

City property at 224 N. Chestnut St. has been in question for quite some time since the city sold it to Norm Zimmerman in October 2017. 

During the Sept. 16 Monticello City Council meeting, City Administrator Doug Herman and the council discussed options to encourage Zimmerman to start a building project in the near future. 

In 2017, the city invested $21,000 in the property for demolition of Al Hughes’ home that was destroyed by a fire, purchasing the lot, and asbestos removal, and closing costs. 

Zimmerman proposed to pay $20,000, and said his plans called for building a “craftsman-style house with a carriage-style two-story building on the back lot.” 

To date, no work has begun, despite the council granting Zimmerman an extension. 

At previous council meetings, Zimmerman’s nephew, Kalvin, said he plans to build a home on Chestnut Street for his family to live in. 

Herman sent Norm Zimmerman a letter dated Sept. 13 informing him of the council’s request to have him present to discuss the matter. Herman said Zimmerman told him he was out of the country. 

Zimmerman does have an application for a building permit, but has yet to turn the application in. Zimmerman previously informed Herman that he was having trouble getting adjacent landowners, Lamberts, to sign off. 

Since the initial building plans, Zimmerman changed the concept of the home, requiring an easement from Freese Motors (Brad Freese) to the rear of the lot for a garage. 

Herman noted in his letter to Zimmerman that the easement issue would not hold up the granting of a permit. It is more of a personal issue. 

“The rear access was not part of your original plan, and the delay the modified plan has caused has created much discussion and heat directed to the council and at you,” Herman wrote. 

With that said, several people have continually questioned why the city doesn’t take action against Zimmerman for delaying the project. One of those residents is Steve Hanken. 

“I want to know what you’re going to do about Zimmerman,” Hanken said. “I think it needs to be answered. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for his house to be built, and it’s not being built. I don’t care where the hell he’s at. If he can’t send a representative here to answer for why he hasn’t got a house built, why are you letting it go?” 

“We keep addressing it,” said Mayor Wolken. “It’s not what any of us want, but it’s where we’re at.” 


Subscriber Login