Sunday, April 11, 2010

Enough Already

<$BlogMetaData$>April 13th, 2010

Enough Already

I really wanted to title this article ‘What a crock’. After the commissioners meeting on the 6th of April, it is apparent to me that your county commissioners absolutely don’t have a clue.

This all started with the public hearing to grant a liquor license to Sean Brady for a club at Garryowen. This was already a done deal because he paid the $25,000 two weeks before for the license, so this was just a legal formality. Anyway, I implied to the commissioners, (naw I accused the commissioners) of using the zoning ordinance as a convenience for either enforcing or disregarding the ordinance to suit their purposes. I reminded them that they cannot continue to use the excuse that it is the jurisdiction of the planning and zoning commissioners not the county commissioners to enforce the ordinance. I reminded them that in the comprehensive plan of 2005, they are ultimately responsible for its enforcement. I said that I have previously been to both the p&z and to the commissioners and that their handling of this issue with the exit 31 grille is in violation of the 2008 zoning ordinance. It says specifically in the ordinance that the landowner must request a conditional use permit. Sean Brady did not then and still does not own the property, yet the p&z rezoned the property to commercial. Sean Brady is purchasing this property contingent upon it getting rezoned commercial, approval of the conditional use permit and obtaining a liquor license.

Here is another slam against the citizens of the county. Ms. Merrigan sent the commissioners a letter requesting a reply by them about the Garryowen property and during the course of the discussion about the permit, Mr. Jordan replied to me that the letter from Liz was merely a personal letter in his correspondence packet and did not require a response. So what Mr. Jordan was in effect saying is that unless you are on the agenda and appear in person before the commission, whatever your concerns are is merely conversation and they don’t need to respond to you. (Now comes my headline) “What a Crock.”

Anyway, back to the liquor license. Mr. Karpen and I were discussing who was responsible for requesting a conditional use permit when the States Attorney interrupted and said this was not on the agenda. What they were there to have the hearing for was the license for Mr. Brady. So, Mr. Karpen cut the conversation short and took a vote to grant the license, and it was 3 yeas and 1 nay (Mr. Ustad) and the license was done. Marv Schemp wasn’t there. So much for following the ordinance.

One of the next things on the agenda was to visit the property that was purchased for a parking lot for the court house. I don’t think any of the commissioners other than Mr. Karpen had ever seen the place. My comments when I walked through the door was” Holy Moses, this place is about to fall down.” I have never seen a place in such condition. Talk about a dump. I could not believe they paid $45,000 for this place and they still have to pay to have it demolished. I mean I can understand they never intended to use the building, but they still have to have the building demolished. The plan is that this will be filled in, paved and either use it for court house parking or lease it out. That last statement really threw me for a loop. I thought the whole idea for a parking lot was because Main Street is being torn up and they need parking for customers. Main Street is already being torn up and here they are talking about demolishing the building. They have to list it in the paper as surplus property and then put it out for bids. Mr. Jordan remarked that there might be wood, windows etc. that an antique dealer might want, so they are going to advertise it in area papers and do whatever. Main Street will be done before they decide what to do with it. One of their concerns is that there is as lean-to within 2 feet of the property line that surely would not survive an excavator tearing down the building, so they are going to talk to the property owner and offer to repair any damages or maybe even building him a new lean-to to save time and money trying not to damage it when they demolish the building. I’m not kidding folks, this is what really happened. I was there. (Kinda like Walter Cronkite and “You were there.”)

Okay now we are back in the commissioner’s room and they are talking about what it is going to cost to have this building knocked down. Best guess is that it will be somewhere between $7500 and $9500 to get the work done. The City of Elk Point is going to help towards this cost. (I wonder if the people of Elk Point know this.) Speaking of cost, I wonder where this $9000 is going to come from. Is this a budgeted item for 2010? Will they use contingency funds again? Who’s on first?

I always like to wait until Sunday to submit this article because there is always something surprising that pops up at the last minute. Sure enough, in the SCJ today is an article about Hyperion and Dick White speaking at a seminar at WIT tomorrow. It is an international trade summit. (International Trade Summit???) Dick White is the guy that spearheaded all the land options for the HEC. Dick has been back in the area for the last few weeks negotiating extensions to the options signed 3 years ago. These are the options to extend for one to two years at no cost. The seminar on Thursday is going to show how Hyperion ties into international trade. Does this mean the oil is going overseas instead of the local area? Hum-m-m-m-m


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