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City proposes deal for two pipeline corridor parcels

WILLMAR -- The city has reached agreements with two sets of landowners on the value of two parcels acquired by the city for the wastewater treatment project's pipeline corridor.

The agreements received the approval Monday evening of the Willmar City Council's Finance Committee. The committee's action will be considered by the council next Monday night.

The city had received a district court order in June 2008 to allow the city to acquire 28 parcels of land and to begin construction of the pipeline along the corridor between First Street South and the plant site located on County Road 116.

The order did not prohibit landowners from seeking an award of damages that exceeded the value set by the city's appraiser. The city and a number of landowners have reached agreements on the value of some parcels, while no agreements have been reached between the city and a number of other landowners.

The committee approved a settlement between the city and Dale and Bonita Lindquist of $81,000 for a parcel located in the southwest corner of the intersection of 15th Street and 28th Avenue Southwest.

Construction of the pipeline along 28th Avenue/30th Avenue will require the destruction of a row of mature trees that had been owned by the Lindquists, according to Kevin Halliday, city clerk-treasurer. Agreement was reached after the city's appraiser had first valued the parcel at $55,000 -- later reappraised at $60,000 -- and the Lindquists' appraiser set the value at $116,000.

In the second case, the city reached a settlement with Marie Schoeder on a value of $37,000 for a parcel west of 15th Street and along the south side of 30th Avenue. The city acquired ownership of part of the parcel and a temporary easement to stockpile construction materials on the remainder of the parcel.

Agreement was not reached on six groups of 10 parcels of farmland owned by members of the Kvam family of Willmar, Kvam trusts and a Kvam partnership.

In those cases, a three-member panel of court-appointed commissioners viewed the parcels and awarded values that were the same as or close to the values set by the city's appraiser.

The owners' requests, however, were significantly greater than the city's appraisals and the commissioners' awards, according to information provided by Halliday.

He said the landowners had 45 days to appeal the commissioners' awards to district court. The appeal time period began a couple of weeks ago, Halliday said. He said the Kvams are appealing all of the awards.

Halliday recommended the city appeal half of the awards, which were slightly more than the city's appraisal but significantly less than the owners' requests. He said the appeal will preserve the city's right to present evidence at the hearing.

Halliday recommended the city not appeal the other commissioners' awards because the awards were the same or slightly more than the city's appraisal.