Jeff council warned of potential lawsuit

Also hears impact of RAGBRAI® visit

Retired Greene County businessman Dick Finch put Jefferson city council members on notice that if they approve a building permit for construction west of Wild Rose Casino that drains onto property he owns nearby, he’ll sue the city.

Finch spoke during the open forum portion of the council’s regular meeting Aug. 28. He was referring to a request made at the previous meeting by Tom Timmons, president of Wild Rose Casino, that the city build a frontage road to allow more commercial development west of the casino. Developers Bob Drees and Vaughn Bauer own property there and would like to build a truck stop.Finch first questioned a new truck stop so close to Sparky’s, saying it would cannibalize an existing business.

Kim Rueter sold farmland to Wild Rose for the casino and to Drees and Bauer. He still owns the adjacent farm ground, including five parcels slated for development along the proposed frontage road. Finch owns farm ground at the same intersection, but east of Highway 4.

Finch said there has been very little commercial growth since he bought the land in 1974, and he doesn’t see growth coming. “The growth here is going to be awful, awful slow. A frontage road would be a waste of money and a waste of time,” Finch said.

He also said he has proof that Wild Rose is illegally draining surface water onto his farm. He didn’t say what that proof is. He paid to install drainage tile that alleviates most of the problem. “I’m unhappy with it, but I can live with it,” he said.

“But I want to go on record with the council tonight that if any other construction, of any kind, for anything around Wild Rose, the building permit better not have anything to do with drainage up to that northwest pond… If a building permit gets sent to you and it gets approved, I will be suing the city. I go on record saying that,” Finch said.

Also during the open forum Arthur Hardman asked the council to consider placing stop signs on Grimmell Road at Harrison, Monroe and Madison Sts. He said motorists use those streets to avoid the 4-way stop at Lincoln Way and Grimmell, and that traffic has increased too much for the number of children in the area.

MeLinda Madison-Millard mentioned the number of golf carts being driven unsafely in the same area.

Both issues were referred to police chief Mark Clouse.

The city council held public hearings on rezoning in two areas of the city. There were no comments on either zoning change. The council approved the first reading of the required ordinances, then waived the second and third readings, and approved motions to adopt the ordinances.

New lots south of Gallup Road and east of N. Elm St were rezoned from light industrial to highway commercial. The request for rezoning was made by Greene County Development Corporation. When GCDC purchased the property decades ago light industry was the planned use. It now is more likely commercial development will occur there.

The other zoning change was for property now owned by the county on W. Wall St north of the current secondary roads shop and supply storage facilities. The zoning was changed from residential to light industrial.

The council set Sept. 25 as the date for the annual budget priority workshop.
During council and committee reports council member Matt Wetrich, a member of the RAGBRAI® steering committee, reported the event received “outstanding reviews” and an A+ from RAGBRAI officials. He said the event showed a small net profit; how that will be used has not been determined.

The council heard a quarterly update from the Jefferson Matters: Main Street board. Many of the activities have been reported by the media previously.

The economic vitality committee reported survey results show $79,050 in gross income for businesses and organizations from the RAGBRAI overnight stay July 23. That is based on 28 surveys returned to date.

The committee is planning a Business After Hours event Nov. 5, “Marketing for Small Businesses,” with Main Street Iowa business consultant Robin Bostrom.

The design committee reported that Main Street Iowa design consultant Tim Reinders will be in Jefferson Sept. 18 to look at several buildings and prepare design conceptuals. A Business After Hours event Oct. 8, “Strut Your Stuff”, will focus on merchandise displays. The committee is working on a proposal for new Christmas decorations around the downtown square, with the first phase possibly being implemented in 2019.

The organization committee reported the annual investment drive will begin in October with a goal of increasing support by 20 percent, allowing Jefferson Matters to take on more projects. The council was asked to consider that when working on next year’s budget.

The Tower View Team, along with reporting on Arch Alley, noted the Ring Out for Art sculptures will be moved off the courthouse plaza in October. The team is looking for a location in the community where the sculptures can be displayed year-round.

The promotion committee mentioned the Smithsonian HomeTown Teams exhibit at the Greene County historical museum now through Sept. 23, and the Amazing Race for BOOST, which will take place Sept. 29 in the Main Street district. Greene County Chamber and Tourism is collaborating with Jefferson Matters on that event.

The board of directors will have its annual review with Main Street Iowa staff Sept. 6. Jefferson Matters: Main Street has been asked to host a Main Street Iowa state meeting in April or October, 2019. The meeting will draw 70-75 persons for a two-day meeting. Sessions would be held in various locations in the Main Street district, all within walking distance of each other.

Print or share article:Print this page
Email this to someone
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook