Land decision tabled, allowing for sale

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The decision on a piece of vacant land near the homes of numerous retired citizens was tabled by the city council Monday. The tabling of the decision affords the owner of the land, Michael Development Company, the ability to sell the land to another developing company.

The discussion of the land within the Fountain Lake Pointe subdivision attracted numerous residents to speak at the council meeting, because the sale could speed the construction process of a 50-unit apartment building.

Residents spoke against the apartment complex, mainly citing an increase of traffic in an area that is, in their eyes, not automobile-friendly.

Email newsletter signup

Because of the location of the land, future apartment-dwellers would have to drive on a cul-de-sac, highview trail, which does not have sidewalks.

Some said that they walk in the cul-de-sac for exercise and that the increase in traffic would pose a threat.

Alternate forms of entrance to the apartment complex is not permitted by the county and state, because of the land’s proximity to Highway 13 and railroad tracks.

A representative from the land’s owner said that zoning is not an issue, because the land is already zoned for apartments and has been for about two decades.

The council had the option to allow the separation of the piece of land for the sale, deny it, or table, that is, postpone, the decision.

Councilor George Marin, whose constituents live on the land, urged his fellow council members to deny the request.

&uot;What is the right thing to do for our constituents and our community?&uot; Marin asked. &uot;I ask my councilors to stand with me tonight and deny the request.&uot;

Two other councilors, Al Brooks and Randy Erdman, voted with Marin to deny the request. However, the remaining three councilors voted against the denial. Mayor Jean Eaton broke the tie, opposing the denial. Had the motion to deny the request passed, the city could have faced legal action from the development community and, according to City Manager Paul Sparks, probably would have had to pay punitive damages.

Councilor Jeff Fjelstad then motioned to table the request. After the motion, discussion was not allowed and the council had to vote on the tabling of the request. It was tabled in a 5-2 vote, with Marin and Erdman voting against the motion.

Normally, the decision would be brought up at a later time and more discussion could have followed. However, a law requires land action requests to be decided within 60 days of the land action application date.

If the request is not decided within that period, the land action is granted. The 60-day deadline in this case ends before the next council meeting. Therefore, by default, the development company can sell the land.

(Contact Benjamin Dipman at or at 379-3439.)