City Council continues proceedings to acquire land for sewer line corridor

WILLMAR -- The city of Willmar is continuing to obtain ownership and easements on upward of 40 parcels of land inside a narrow corridor where the sewer line will be constructed for the new wastewater treatment plant.

WILLMAR -- The city of Willmar is continuing to obtain ownership and easements on upward of 40 parcels of land inside a narrow corridor where the sewer line will be constructed for the new wastewater treatment plant.

The corridor generally follows 28th Avenue/30th Avenue Southwest and runs from the southwest corner of the city to County Road 116, the site of the future treatment plant.

The city is working to buy parcels lying west of 30th Street Southwest, and is working to obtain easements on parcels lying east of 30th Street Southwest.

The city is not attempting to take ownership or obtain easements on all parcels all at once, but has bunched the parcels into four groups "to get things moving,'' says Craig Holmes, program manager for Donohue and Associates, sewer project consultant.

Efforts focused first on buying parcels on the west end of the corridor because officials knew that those acquisitions would likely be more strenuous and could possibly take longer, according to Holmes.


Offers to the first group were approved by the City Council on Sept. 17. Offers to the second group were approved by the council on Oct. 15. Those groups lie west of 30th Street.

On Monday night, the council approved offers to the third group, which lies east of 30th Street.

All three sets of offers are considered "just compensation" offers, meaning the property owner should be in the same position as before the property is taken.

The council has already authorized eminent domain proceedings against the first group, and on Monday night the council authorized eminent domain proceedings against the second group. Eminent domain is the right of the government to take property from a private owner for public use.

Holmes said in most cases there has been no reaction from the owners to the city's compensation offers. Eminent domain proceedings will be filed if the owners and the city are unable to negotiate a purchase price, said Holmes.

He said landowners have the right to challenge the city's offer and can have their own appraisal performed. Holmes said the city will reimburse the cost of independent appraisals up to $5,000.

Holmes said there are 11 parcels in the first group, six parcels in the second group and six parcels in the third group. The number in the fourth group has yet to be determined because Donohue is finishing some design changes east of 30th Street, according to Holmes.

One purchase agreement has been approved. The council Monday night voted to authorize the mayor and city administrator to sign documents to buy three parcels, plus two smaller severed parcels, for $25,000 from the Alf Peterson Estate.


In other business Monday, the council:

- Approved a Public Works/Safety Committee recommendation to allow Donohue to use the conventional "design-bid-build'' method, rather than the construction management method, to oversee construction of the new wastewater treatment plant and conveyance system. Holmes said the conventional method would give Donohue better oversight of the project and would result in more competitive bidding and lower construction costs.

- Voted to place unpaid utility charges totaling $3,890 as liens on nine properties. The unpaid charges will be collected in the 2008 property taxes.

- Approved the two-lot preliminary plat of Hill's Westside Addition for single-family home development. The addition is a replat of a portion of Park View Estates, located at the corner of First Avenue North and 33rd Street.

- Approved the preliminary plat of Slumberland Addition, which combines two unplatted parcels into one lot, and is located just north of McMillan's Restaurant on South First Street. The plat is proposed as the site of a new Slumberland furniture store.

- Voted to vacate 11th Street Southwest between Benson Avenue and Pacific Avenue and a portion of Pacific Avenue Southwest north of Benson Avenue. The streets will be vacated to provide space to build a pump station to pump Jennie-O Turkey Store waste to the future wastewater treatment plant. The Planning Commission has approved the street vacation. No one spoke for or against the proposed vacation during a public hearing.

- Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for services such as bridge inspections and pavement striping. Mayor Les Heitke asked Mel Odens, public works director, if the agreement assures that the city's six bridges are inspected for safety. Odens said the bridges are inspected annually and the city receives an annual report. Council member Bruce DeBlieck, a state employee, abstained from voting.

What To Read Next
Get Local