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Resolution Amended By Supervisors

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

After several sometimes contentious meetings over the topic, Palo Alto County’s Board of Supervisors made an amendment to a resolution granting use of county right-of-way for a proposed recreational trail along Five Island Lake on Tuesday. The action came after the amendment had been tabled several times in past weeks by the supervisors as groups opposed and supporting a proposed trail route argued their positions.

Tuesday’s board action opened with Supervisor Ron Graettinger suggesting that the amended resolution include the wording, “the exact location of the county portion of the trail is subject to the approval of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.”

However, the idea was quickly bypassed.

“We don’t need to add that,” commented Supervisor Jerry Hofstad. “I would move to amend the resolution as written.”

As written, the amendment read, “the exact location of the trail is subject to the approval of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.”

Supervisor Keith Wirtz offered a second to Hofstad’s motion, and Board Chair Ed Noonan called for a roll call vote. On the roll call, Supervisors Hofstad, Wirtz and Noonan all cast “aye” votes, while Graettinger and Supervisor Leo Goeders cast “nay” votes. With a 3-2 majority, Noonan declared the amendment duly passed.

The resolution still grants the Five Island Trails Committee the authority to use the county’s right-of-way to construct a trail in, but now requires final approval of the trail location in the right-of-way by the county supervisors before any construction can take place.

Members of the group opposed to the trail location, who were in attendance, presented the supervisors with an outline of their proposal to the Trails committee regarding the construction and location of the trail.

In the outline, the group calls for the trail to be built completely on the east side of North Huron Street, up to the start of the K&R Property, where it crosses County Road N48 and continues north on the west side of N48 to Duhigg Park. The outline specifies that the trail must stay out of Sewell Park, and that the trail be constructed of porous material when located within 15 feed of the lakeshore. The group also states no tree over four inches in diameter may be cut down and that all trees cut down must have replacements planted.

Several members of the group offered comments on the outline, including Gary Frink, who noted that the outline calls for the trail to pass across his property with a 20-foot right-of-way across the Frink property. “That land is in an estate out there, so the committee is going to have to come and talk to me, and I’ll have to talk to the other two-thirds of the estate owners to explain it to them.”

“Another thing to remember about this is that that gravel road is always there it people want to ride on it,” noted Steve Mathis. “This way, they’re not bothering the fishermen or anyone.”

“We’re just trying to come up with a reasonable compromise that will please everyone,” noted Bertha Mathis, as the discussion concluded.

In other business, the supervisors canvassed the Municipal Election results from the Nov. 3 elections, and found no changes in any of the ballot totals. Deputy Auditor Carmen Moser also informed the supervisors that in Curlew, a tie for a seat on the city council had been decided when one of the candidates withdrew from consideration.

“Rick Watts and Robby Johnson both had six votes, but Rick Watts had been on the council and didn’t want to serve another term,” Moser explained. “So, Robby Johnson was declared the winner of the fifth council seat.”

The board members heard a presentation from Mike Steinke of Wind Energy consulting and contracting of Jacksonville, FL and Enid, OK, regarding the possibility of performing a wind energy informational survey and reports for the county as a whole. Steinke estimated a full study would cost around $15,000, but would be very useful for future development of wind energy projects in the county.

The supervisors were also briefed on road and drainage matters by County Engineer Joel Fantz. Among the items discussed were the closure of a wooden plank bridge at Rush Lake, for the replacement of additional planks in the deck.

Fantz also reported that even with the loss of most of the working days in October due to wet conditions, county forces had completed 11 and a half miles of ditch reconstruction in the county during the season. “You set a goal of 15 miles every year,” Fantz noted, “But this year, 11 and a half miles is a good effort by our workers. Over in Lyon County, they only completed two miles of similar work this year. Our guys are really productive in what they do.”