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Right-of-way agreement for new Goodwill is approved by Willmar, Minn., City Council

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has approved a terminable licensing agreement with Willmar Ten to allow parking in city-owned highway right-of-way for a new Goodwill Store proposed at the vacant corner of 19th Avenue Southwest and First Street South.

Willmar Ten, a group of local investors, proposes to construct a 22,600-square-foot building and lease it to Goodwill, so the property will be taxed, according to a Willmar Ten member.

Goodwill is a not-for-profit enterprise that supports the Easter Seal program and other philanthropic activities.

The council unanimously approved the agreement Monday night. Approval was recommended by the council's Community Development Committee. During the June 14 committee meeting, members from the nearby American Legion Post presented a list of concerns regarding the Goodwill project.

Committee Chairman Jim Dokken said during his committee report that Legion members were concerned about the loading dock, dumpsters and rear access to the new building in relation to the Legion's front entrance.

Dokken said the concern is being taken care of with Willmar Ten.

Legion members were concerned about the ability of trucks to access the loading dock without protruding into a shared easement space. Other concerns were trucks idling during cold weather and creating noise and exhaust fumes entering the Legion; and maintenance and snow removal of the shared easement.

Members were also concerned about having a privacy fence to improve aesthetic appeal for the Legion's front entrance, and whether trucks would have access to the loading dock from either First Street or 19th Avenue.

Dokken reported that the balance of the Legion's concerns seem to have been or are being addressed with Willmar Ten.

The agreement was a condition of the plan review conducted by the Planning Commission on May 9. The commission approved the plan review with the stipulation that no structures be built within the right-of-way.

A right-of-way is defined as a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway.

A right-of-way is reserved for the purposes of maintenance or expansion of existing services within the right-of-way.

City Administrator Charlene Stevens said a terminable licensing agreement allows the city to let another party use the land within the right-of-way but does not give up the city's right to the right-of-way.

This was the second such agreement to be approved by the council. The first agreement was approved several months ago and allows a First Street South business to continue to have its sign located within the First Street right-of-way.

In other business, the council held the annual meeting for the city's storm water permit and pollution prevention program. Public Works Director Holly Wilson said the purpose of the meeting is to continue to raise awareness of the importance of good storm water management.

Also, Wilson said the meeting is held to update the council and the public on the status of the city's storm water pollution prevention permit from the state; to discuss steps taken in 2011, what's being done in 2012; and what is planned for the future.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150