It is an issue that has plagued Flandreau City Officials for years, encroachment violations in the State right-of-way for Highway 32. It was back in 2010 that State Department of Transportation officials met with city officials to identify signs, buildings, shrubs, fences, post office boxes, etc. that appeared in violation.
The Highway was resurfaced in 2011 and the DOT expected the City to send out letters to property owners about any violations at that time. Property owners would have five years to move out of the right-of-way.
Well, some of those alleged violations were fixed. Others are still in existence. And for those ongoing violations, the DOT expects the City to either relocate the encroachment with its own forces or take the property owner to court to get the item removed. City Administrator Don Whitman said City Officials have chosen to instead, do nothing. They do not believe it is their responsibility to enforce the State encroachment issue. The two entities remain in somewhat of a stand-off.
City Attorney Paul Lewis briefed the City Council this past Monday night on the most recent conference call with DOT officials. The Council voted to draft a letter to the Secretary of the DOT requesting a meeting to clarify inconsistencies with the DOTís handling of the encroachment issues.
The inconsistencies that were referred to are the fact that DOT offered revocable permits for places like the St. Vincent Hotel and the parking lot at the West End Plaza but only offered 5 years for other signs and some things like the post office box had to go right away.
The Council also heard ...
... Police Chief Jim Morey inform the Council that Officer Anderson-Pelton remains out on sick leave, Officer Henning is at the academy and Officer Weber is taking cell phone/electronic forensic evidence training n Huron.
... Chief Morey also requested permission from Council to apply for two grants. The first is for two in-car video systems and two radar units. The second is for DWI overtime. If awarded, the funds for both grants would be available in 2015. Permission was granted.
... notice from Brad Bjerke, Council Liaison for the Airport Board, that details of the Fly-In will be discussed at a meeting this next week. The Fly-In will be held sometime this summer. In the meantime, fuel sales are up due to the nice weather and a chip/seal of the asphalt will take place sometime this summer as well.
... City Administrator Don Whitman provide updates on the proposed restroom and shower facilities at the Japanese Gardens at City Park. The current facilities are actually on the register of historic places and there is discussion they do not want the new building to mirror the historic building. Current plans call for one shower and three facilities on each side. Construction should begin by August 1st.
... a motion for the purchase of a new truck, snow plow and V-box sander. The bid for $124,209.56 was approved along with a motion for financing.
... an update on a Verizon agreement to place an antennae on the east water tower to improve cell service within the region. The motion carried.