The Monett City Council took action on several property matters at the October monthly meeting on Thursday, including the purchase of land and an annexation.
Council members voted to purchase 32.93 acres of land from the Bandy Family Trust for $2,500 an acre, for a total cost of $82,325. The land is located west of the city's waste treatment plant, north of Clear Creek and south of the railroad tracks, extending west from the plant approximately a quarter mile.
The acquisition was approved in closed session. A closing must now be completed on the purchase.
Trustees of the estate are Roger and Carolyn Ruth Bandy and Sharon Tommey.
According to Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch, the land in question was part of the Bennett estate and extended from the railroad tracks to Highway 60. The land came to its present owners after the Bennett estate was passed on to other family members. The property was first offered to the city in 2004 at a much higher price. The city declined further discussion at the time, Rauch said.
This summer a commercial realtor approached the city again on behalf of the family. Counter offers were exchanged and the current price was reached. A contract was signed earlier this week.
"I think it's a fair deal for the city and the families," Rauch said. "It's been farmed for years and a lot of it is in the flood plain, like most of the wastewater plant. The land is rented to a farmer and he will continue to farm it through next year. We have no short-term plans and may negotiate with him to keep farming."
At the present time the city's waste treatment plant has substantial hydraulic and treatment capacity. Rauch said the plant will not need to be expanded again for many years. When the time comes, perhaps more than a decade away, Rauch said the purchase will provide land for growth.
The city acquired the Rutherford farm, eyed for the new water treatment plant on the west side of the city, almost two decades ago. Only now is the city moving forward with its plans for that property. Rauch said such advanced planning required acquiring property when it's available. He thanked the council for its foresight in acquiring the land.
In the near future Rauch said he plans to take three to five acres of the new land to establish a storage area for water and sewer pipes. Presently pipes are stored in a limited space at the utilities warehouse and on land near the old ice plant at the east end of Broadway borrowed from the Street Department.
Council members voted to annex six acres of land from the Billie Medlin estate, at the request of the family. Commissioner Mike Brownsberger said the property is owned by his neighbors.
The Medlin property is a long thin rectangle on the north edge of the Twin Oaks subdivision, west of Chapell Drive. The annexation fills in a gap between two previously annexed properties.
Inoperable vehicles change
A new subsection to the city code on nuisances was introduced concerning ownership of inoperable vehicles following a discussion on the subject last month. Under the current code, property owners are allowed to have one unregistered or inoperable vehicle with no time restrictions.
City Administrator Dennis Pyle explained that under the proposed change, property owners could still have an unregistered or inoperable vehicle, but only for 60 days. After that time limit, police would have the option to have the owner summoned to municipal court. The city would also be empowered to have the vehicle towed or impounded, at the owner's expense. Violations would be subject to a fine up to $500.
Mayor Jim Orr set public discussion of the proposal for the Nov. 21 council meeting.
Another new section to the city code was introduced under the title of "Interference with Traffic Flow." Mayor Orr said the ordinance would put an end to boot blocks or other fundraisers in city streets.
Under the ordinance, "It shall be unlawful for any person to stand or remain idle either alone or in consort with others on a traffic island, within the actual roadway or on any street corner in such a manner so as to: 1) Obstruct any street, highway, sidewalk or any place or building by hindering or impeding or tending to hinder or impede the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles, traffic or pedestrians; or 2) Commit in or upon any street, highway, sidewalk, traffic island or street corner any act obstructing or interfering with the free and uninterrupted passage of vehicles."
Orr said the issue arose at the request of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). Pedestrians holding signs on corners had been challenged by police, only to ask for city ordinances restricting their activity. Because the city had no such ordinances, their activity could not be limited.
Public discussion was scheduled for the Nov. 21 meeting.