County Supervisors Approve Voluntary Annexation
Palo Alto County’s Board of Supervisors approved a voluntary annexation request for lands into a drainage district during their weekly session on Sept. 14. The board also set a date for an informational meeting on a water quality project for October during the meeting.
The board members met with representatives of Soper Farms, owners of a tract of land located in Section 34 of Nevada Township. Jim Hudson of Pocahontas, attorney for the owners, presented the petition for voluntary annexation of farmlands into Drainage District 21 to the supervisors, who act as trustees of the district.
“We have 320 acres of farmland in this location that actually lies in three districts,” Hudson explained. “The west 80 acres is in DD 21, while the north 67 acres are in DD 65 and do not have a very good outlet to that DD, and the remaining acres are in DD 80 and they also do not have the best outlet to that DD.”
According to Hudson, if the petition were approved, an additional 240 acres of lands would be added into the watershed of DD 21.
“It is our hope to enter into written agreements with some neighboring landowners to hook a 24” main tile to run parallel to the District 21 tile to the main ditch,” Hudson explained. “We have handshake agreements, but we need to have written agreements to do this tiling. The landowners will incur all expense, and the work will actually improve the drainage for other landowners on the DD21 main tile by reducing the water carried by that tile.”
Hudson noted that even if the petition were approved, the lands originally in DD 65 and DD 80 would still remain in those districts and would continue to pay assessments for those districts. However, Soper Farms would request a reclassification of those acres coming into DD 21. “It would be better business to do that,” Hudson said, noting that he had spoken with Drainage Engineer Don Etler, who agreed with the reclassification idea. “That would cost about $2,500 and the Sopers will pay the reclassification costs.”
Barry Fehr, who farms the land in question, explained that surface drainage is very limited, due in large part to railroad tracks that act as a dam for surface water.
“I’m familiar with this area and that’s true,” agreed Supervisor Keith Wirtz.
“Are there any objections to this idea from any landowners in DD 21?” asked Supervisor Ron Graettinger.
Hudson replied there were no objections that he was aware of. “The open ditch has the capacity for these additional acres so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“The addition of our main is also going to alleviate pressure on the 21 main,” Craig Brownlee, Farm Manager for Soper Farms, reminded the board members.
“Voluntary Annexation is a bit of a rare bird,” Hudson said. “But it is accomplished through resolution and adoption.”
“It appears you’ve done everything you could to make this as painless as possible, and we appreciate that,” Wirtz said as the discussion concluded.
With the board satisfied that the plan was sound and well developed, Supervisor Ed Noonan moved to introduce and approve a resolution for voluntary annexation of 240 acres of lands in Section 34 of Nevada Township into Drainage District 21. A second from Graettinger resulted in unanimous approval of the board on a roll call vote.
The board held a brief conference call with Pocahontas County Supervisors to set a date for a pair of meetings on Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship projects for water quality studies in Joint Drainage District 36 for 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 in Pocahontas, and a meeting for lands in DD15 South of Palo Alto County on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m. in the Board Room of the Courthouse.