City researching uses of property
By Bert Lehman
The city of Clintonville postponed action on a petition by Daniel Utschig for the city to vacate an area of Hillside Drive east of the intersection with Fairway Drive, and deed the property to Utschig.
Utschig initially filed a Petition for Closure of Area Dedicated for City Street on May 2.
In the petition, Utschig requested “the city initiate the necessary proceedings to allow for consideration and determination of the issue regarding the vacation of such street.”
Utschig also stated in the petition that the property was originally intended for a city street, but was never developed. By deeding the property to Utschig, the city would receive additional real estate tax revenue.
The petition was declined at a July 12 Clintonville Plan Commission meeting.
The petition was discussed at a special city council meeting on Monday, July 25.
Plan Commission Chairman Brad Rokus told the council that the piece of property is located near the land that Lynne Simpson recently donated to the city.
“Since we don’t know exactly what we are going to do with that park land we decided to recommend the city not vacate that section of road at this time,” Rokus said.
Attorney Michael Meyer, who is representing Utschig on the matter, was allowed to address the council.
Meyer told the council that Utschig has owned property by Fairview Drive for a long time. He said it is also typical for municipalities to deed properties that won’t be used down the middle to property owners on both sides of the property or just one of the property owners.
If the city is still researching a use for the property, Meyer recommended the council table the petition instead of declining it.
“It’s not that we don’t want to vacate it, but until we have a plan of what to do with that new property, we want to at least have the option [to use the land dedicated for a street],” Rokus said. “It’s easier to return it later, than realize that we need it and try to get it back in the future.”
Meyer said that was understandable, and expressed that Utschig didn’t want to forfeit the opportunity to obtain the property.
Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell said city staff would be fine if the council tabled the issue. He said there have been discussions on potential uses of some of the property.
“The other thing is that we have city utilities, both electric and water, that are located in that right of way, east of Fairway,” Kell said. “If we are to vacate this road in the future, there needs to be some easements in place to protect our municipal facilities that are there. That’s something that hasn’t been addressed yet.”
Kell added that city staff asked that the city not vacate the property at this time because it might be used for the Simpson property gifted to the city.
“We feel that plan should be put in place and adopted by the council first, before we move forward with this,” Kell said.
The council approved a motion to postpone action on the petition until the Park and Rec and Street committees can meet with the Plan Commission to discuss possible future uses of that piece of property. Alderwoman Julie Stumbris, and Aldermen Chuck Manske and Steve Kettenhoven were absent from the meeting.
Meyer said Utschig was fine with that action as long as he doesn’t have to resubmit the petition.