City seeking RFPs on N. Chestnut Street lot

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The City of Monticello is now seeking Request for Proposals (RFPs) from anyone interested in building on the now vacant lot located at 224 N. Chestnut St., formerly the Al Hughes property.

     Earlier this year, after a fire totaled the house, the city purchased the property for $10,000. The house has since been demolished, with the garage to remain until after Sept. 1, giving Hughes time to salvage anything inside.

     “I’ve had a number of people express interest,” said City Administrator Doug Herman, “but I’m not sure how serious it is.”

     He said a couple of the interested parties were local contractors who felt the lot was buildable.

     Council member Dave Goedken said it’d be in the city’s best interest to get something built as soon as possible to start collecting property taxes again.

     Council member Tom Yeoman asked whether the city should put a minimum amount of money just on the lot itself. Council member Johnny Russ said best-case scenario, the city might get $30,000 for the lot.

     “I don’t think we should put a minimum on it,” suggested Russ.

     Herman brought an issue to the council’s attention that stems from June 2016 involving local business Fancy Fritter. At that time, Public Works Director Brant LaGrange and Water/Waste Water Operator Jay Yanda were working near the restaurant trying to clog a sewer main that travels through the alley adjacent to Fancy. In a letter to the city council from Fancy owners Bailey Gray and David and Teresa Tobiason, they said the sewer severely backed up into their restaurant, causing damage, resulting in items having to be thrown out and equipment damaged. LaGrange and Yanda spent about an hour assisting in the cleanup efforts. Gray/Tobiasons added that the health of their customers was also put at risk.

     Due to the sewer backup issue, Fancy is asking that any repairs required for their sidewalk due to the Main Street resurfacing project be covered by the city.

     “We respectfully request the city pay for those repairs in exchange for the loss of materials, lost time due to cleanup, loss of business, etc.,” the letter states.

     Herman informed the council that the claim has since been sent to the city’s insurance adjuster for review. However, he said he felt the compensation for the sidewalk is not justified.

     “They will look at it from a liability standpoint to see if the city is liable,” said Herman. “From a legal standpoint, they (the insurance company) will probably conclude we did nothing wrong. We have the right to maintain our lines.”

     Herman said the claim compared to the cost of new sidewalks don’t equal one another.

     “These are two separate issues,” he said. “The sidewalk is their obligation and it should stay that way.”

     The council decided to table any action at this time, pending any information from the city’s insurance company.

In other city business:

     • The council approved the site plan and storm water management plan for the 100,000-square-foot addition to the Orbis Manufacturing facility in Monticello.

     Planning & Zoning recommended approval after reviewing the plans as well. The site plan shows that the addition will meet setbacks. The storm water plan controls the flow of water from all roofs in a channel/retention ditch to the east of the building. This is old railroad right-of-way, with five “check dams” to slow the flow of the water. Orbis is also working to acquire the old railroad ROW from Naylor Bag and Supply to assist in their storm water management plan.

     • The council approved final property assessments for the E. South St. reconstruction project. Fifteen properties will be assessed, with costs ranging from $300-$6,000. Assessments were based on curb, sidewalks, and driveway approaches/improvements. The council previously approved a 2 percent interest rate.

     Herman said affected owners would receive correspondence in the mail regarding their assessments.

     • Herman informed the council of several nuisance issues surrounding the out-of-service K Power Fuels gas station at the intersection of Main St. and Oak St.

     He said he contacted the realtor, who informed Herman that the property was no longer listed. He then contacted the owner who said there was a serious buyer from New York who would be closing on the property next week. However, the potential buyer has not physically seen the property.

     Herman said there are a number of nuisances related to the property, namely too many pole signs and the pumps and canopy located in city ROW.

     “If you remove the pumps,” said Goedken, “you eliminate the use as a gas station.”

     The council agreed that the location of the business is also not user-friendly, trying to pull in and out at a busy intersection.

     While the council agreed the signs needed to go, they advised Herman to wait on citing the pumps and canopy until either the current or new owners meet with the council to discuss future use.


Subscriber Login