Land adjacent to Tot Park transferred to homeowners
At tonight’s City Plan Commission meeting, four quit claim deeds to transfer city-owned property located north of 79th Street and east of 17th Place, to the four adjacent homeowners, was unanimously approved. One of the homeowners, Donald Bartoli, was present at the meeting and stated that he was in agreement and pleased that, after 26 years, this was being addressed. Another set of homeowners, Luis and Beverly Keelin, were not present at the meeting, but Jeff LaBahn, community development and inspections director, stated that he had been in contact with them, and they were in agreement with the transfer, also. “There will be a negligible adjustment in property taxes for those properties,” said LaBahn.
Two other property owners, Eleanor Hall, Robert Wade, Jr., and Lynn Wade, were also not present at the meeting. Since LaBahn had not heard from them one way or the other, he assured the commissioners that he would contact them to learn their disposition on the proposed property transfer. Richard Schroeder, city staff, commented that there were already accessory buildings (not garages) on these two pieces of property. A question was raised as to how accessory buildings had been built on these two lots without permits, and Mayor Keith Bosman said that this happened in the city “more than we know.”
These last two quit claim deeds were approved subject to confirmation with the property owners, and subsequent consultation with the city’s legal department, if necessary. They will not be submitted to the Common Council for final approval until LaBahn receives word from them as to their response.
Alderperson Jan Michalski and Commissioner Robert Hayden both commented on the excellent manner in which the homeowners had maintained the park. “You wouldn’t know it was city land,” said Michalski. Hayden agreed. “I had no idea it was not their property.”
LaBahn gave a brief history. Back in 1928 was the first edition of Kirchener Highlands, the lots along the south areas of 79th Street, Sheridan Road, and 22nd Avenue. Two areas were dedicated to the city as playground areas. The area between 15th Avenue and 17th Avenue was one area. Three years ago, it was determined that the other area, between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue, was not needed for playground or parks purposes either. “Someone wants to build a garage on their property, which is owned by the city. This was the same request we received three years ago. The same reason, the same purpose.”
LaBahn did say that there is a signature line for each owner of record on the quit claim deeds, but the homeowners did not need to execute the documents. “It is a straight conveyance from the city to the owner.”