Street and alley assessments bring homeowners to City HallProperty owners’ input affects the City Council’s decision-making on alley assessments. Grandview Drive homeowners learn what their final assessments will be.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
A public hearing Monday night, Aug. 6, on city assessments for street and alley improvements drew a number concerned property owners.
In the case of the assessments for reconstructing an alley between Sixth and Seventh streets north of River Street, the property owners’ input affected the City Council’s decision-making.
David Cline, 1302 Sixth St., said he was speaking for eight homeowners with back yards on the alley who were assessed $2,016 for the scheduled improvements.
Cline agreed that the alley is in bad shape and said he didn’t have a problem with paying his fair share for the improvement, but that a ninth homeowner at the end of the alley should be included in the assessment.
“We’re asking you to modify your assessment to make it fair, just and equitable,” he said.
Cline said the alley was the only access to the house at the north end of it, yet those homeowners weren’t included in the assessments. Meanwhile, he doesn’t use the alley, but will be paying to get it fixed.
In the City Council meeting that followed the hearing, Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli said he, too, thought that the house at the end of the alley should be included in the assessments. He said Finance Officer Neil Soltis removed it from the list.
Soltis explained that a city policy recommends assessing only properties with front-footage on a roadway. He said the ninth property didn’t meet that criterion.
Soltis agreed, however, that the council could deviate from the norm to ensure an equitable assessment in this situation.
With that, the council, on a motion by Alderperson Mary Yacoub, modified the resolution authorizing the special assessments to include the ninth property.
With the cost to homeowners divided nine ways, the each will pay $1,792, a savings of $224 for the eight who protested.
The total cost of rebuilding the one-block stretch of alley will be $32,267. The city will pay half the cost.
The assessments for curb, gutter and driveway-apron replacements that will be part of the reconstruction of Grandview Drive from Vine to Ash streets also brought homeowners to City Hall.
They raised questions and voiced concerns.
Richard Stine, 914 Grandview Dr., said his main reason for being at the hearing was to find out what was going on. He had heard that the city was going to replace his driveway.
Consulting engineer Karen Erickson of Foth Infrastructure & Environment reported that homes on the east side of the street will be getting five feet of new driveway apron, and homes on the west side, seven feet of new apron.
Erickson said homeowners could work with the contractor to have their entire driveways resurfaced at their own expense. She said she could provide them with the contact information once the subcontractors are established.
Later, during the City Council meeting, the council approved a base bid of $518,557 from Monarch Paving on the 2012 street improvement projects. The projects include the Grandview Drive reconstruction, the alley reconstruction, and milling and overlaying Carmichael Road from Vine Street to near the Hudson Middle School entrance, about 2,000 feet to the north.
A man in the audience who didn’t identify himself wanted to know if his lawn irrigation system would be affected.
Erickson told him the lines will have to be moved if they are in the street right-of-way.
Dane Palmer, 806 Grandview Dr., wanted to know what the final assessment for his property would be. He said he had received a preliminary assessment of $2,100.
Palmer and the other homeowners in attendance got some good news in learning that the preliminary assessments were based on an estimated costs of $28 per square foot for curb and gutter, and $8 per square foot sidewalk. The actual costs came in at $20.80 per square foot for curbing and $7.10 per square foot for sidewalk.
Palmer’s actual assessment was $1,668, a reduction of about $432 from what he had expected.
The city will pay half the cost of the curbing and sidewalk.
Another homeowner was concerned about access to her house and where she could park during the project. She also wanted to know how school buses and garbage trucks would be affected.
Erickson said Grandview would be closed to through-traffic during the reconstruction work, which will last about four to five weeks. Homeowners will have to park on the street while their driveway aprons are being installed, a process that will take up to a week to complete, she said.
Erickson said neighborhood meetings would be held once the construction is about to begin.
The city received just one bid on the street reconstruction and overlay work, but Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli said it came in below the estimated cost.