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Richwood Road property owners are split on plans for city sewer, water

Detroit Lakes City Council members met with property owners last week to gauge support for running city water and sewer lines along the west side of Richwood Road.

City policy requires annexation prior to extending infrastructure, according to City Administrator Rich Grabow.

"They are outside the city -- we invited them to a meeting to see if there's any interest -- it was an informational meeting for property owners and the city council to see how everybody feels about it," Grabow said.

The results of the public hearing were a mixed bag, he said. City officials will talk to more property owners to see if there is enough support to proceed with the project. Property owners must be willing to sign a petition in order for their support to count, he added.

If the general reaction is positive, "we will probably start the annexation process," Grabow said. If it's negative, "I don't know what will happen next," he added. The meeting lasted about 30 minutes and included information on the project scope and cost.

After receiving requests for city sewer and water from residents along Richwood Road, the city council authorized the City Engineer's office to conduct a feasibility study.

At the meeting, City Engineer Gary Nansen summarized the proposed project, which would include extension of municipal sewer and water services along the west right-of-way of Richwood Road from Terry Street to Tower Road, to serve existing residences and businesses.

The council had authorized the use of average bid prices in 2006 to determine the assessable portion of the project, which is proposed to be $302,250, Nansen said. The total cost of the project is estimated at $733,400, with the city share being $431,150. Estimated assessments for the project range from a proposed $7,726 for a 100-foot lot to $13,603 for a 150-foot lot. The maximum lot frontage is proposed to be 150 feet.

After answering questions about the project, the council heard from supporters and opponent of the project.

Lloyd Moser said he had discussed the project with some owners of property on Dan Street who told him they opposed the project, according to minutes of the meeting.

Grabow explained that a petition for annexation and extension of municipal services had been received from Jesus Is Real Ministries, and Tim and Debra Lamb have said they are in favor of the proposed project. Randy Cadwell also presented a petition for annexation and spoke in favor of the project, indicating that his water and septic system were in need of improvements.

Doug Bergman, property owner in the project area, spoke against it; Donald and Carolyn Hintermeister spoke in favor or the project and requested that the city send them a petition for annexation.

Jeff Leighton, Leighton Enterprises, Inc., spoke in favor of the project and requested that the city send him a petition.

Charlotte Joy, JB's Toad Lake Graphics, with property on Dan Street, spoke against the project.

Larry Leitheiser spoke for the project due to a need for upgrade of his existing utilities, but spoke against the project due to the high cost for him to connect to city facilities because of his distance from the road.

Clayton Schott, property owner on Tower Road, said he was in favor of the project because it would help him in the development of approximately 100 acres that he owns north of Tower Road.

The council has given tentative approval to a 20-year assessment at 6 percent interest for the project, Grabow said

Vice Mayor Matt Brenk said the property owners would all be notified again when the council is prepared to make a decision on the project.