Council set to convey alley to Fisher Controls, Brewhouse owner

The Marshalltown City Council established the value of a parcel adjacent to Fisher Controls and a caf under construction Monday night.

At its weekly meeting, the council set a public hearing on the city vacating two stretches of alley and selling them to Fisher Controls and Brewhouse owner Donald Anderson. The alleys are south of West Boone Street and west of South Center Street.

Curt Ward, city attorney, reminded the council that cities do not have the authority to convey property for less than its value, which the council can determine.

Although the adjacent property owners may be considered “good corporate citizens,” Ward said the city couldn’t offset the property’s value to reward them for their civic service.

“When we come to the point where we are setting a value, that is what we have to live with,” he said. “You can’t really approach it from the perspective that it might be worth X amount, but we are only going to charge Y because the adjoining property owner is a good fellow.”

Bob Wenner, at-large council member, proposed that the owners split the established cost of $200 and cover any administrative cost the city would incur to convey the land to them. He also specified that the council previously opined that since the city did not maintain the alley, should the owners decide to seek compensation for previous maintenance, that amount would exceed the property’s value.

Leon Lamer, at-large council member, noted – and the Public Works Director confirmed – that a sewer line runs through the alleys, which prohibits further development on the part of the would-be owners.

Since the alleys are in a Tax Increment Finance district (TIF), the council can stipulate future use; however, it did not restrict the use of the alleys.

“It has no value we have to give access,” Marla Grabenbauer, third ward council member said. “We haven’t been maintaining it anyway.”

Bethany Wirin, at-large council member, said she thought that the resolution should stipulate $1,000 cost, which would include administrative costs, instead of “$200 plus administrative costs” but still voted in favor of the resolution.

Joel Greer, second ward council member, abstained, citing a conflict.

Greer was also the lone dissenter on a resolution to decrease the speed limit on South Sixth Street past West Merle Hibbs Boulevard from 45 mph to 35 mph. The resolution’s third reading passed.

Randy Wetmore, city administrator, said the speed limit will be reduced shortly after publication of the change, but did not have a specific date at press time.

Council Member Al Hoop, fourth ward, was absent.

Public hearing on the alley sale is set for 5:30 p.m. March 25.