PRAB Discusses Yates Property & Recommends Purchase

Citizen Comment deferred to agenda item:

  • Barbara Fisher, Bridget Clark and Paul Shearer briefly spoke in support of the purchase of Hallinan woods.
  • Donald Mattersdorff told the board that he would donate $ 10,000 towards the purchase of the Yates property. He supports the recommendation to purchase the property.
  • Sarah Ellison, Coalition for Hallinan Woods Nature Park member, presented a brief overview of the background regarding the neighborhood’ s goals and desire to purchase the Yates property over the last 6 years. The Coalition is requesting the Board present a recommendation to the City Council to offer $1.8 million to the Yates Street property owner. The Coalition believes the offer is within the fair market value of the property. Sarah read a letter from the Oswego Lake Watershed Council encouraging the City to take advantage of the opportunity to purchase the property.

Ivan Anderholm told the Board that the property owner informed him the development costs are expected to be 300K-350K. In a follow-up conversation with the City Manager, Ivan told him that he had made an offer of 800k to the property owner, which is based on the Parks Board CIP meeting June 1, 2018. The original offer was 400k from SDC’s, and the balance would presumably come from Parks & Recreation contingency funds. Mr. Anderholm, to date, has not received any information from the property owner. On September 17, 2018, the Development Review Commission held a public hearing and tentatively approved the application with conditions. A special meeting to review and approve the findings was held on September 24. The City received a Notice of Intent to Appeal, filed by Donald Mattersdorff and Christian Huettemeyer. City Council will hear the appeal at the October 23 City Council meeting.

Natalie Bennon shared a PowerPoint presentation highlighting Hallinan Woods. At the Parks Board CIP meeting on June 1, 2018, Board members discussed and prioritized projects on the CIP list. The Board voted and placed the Hallinan Woods as #5 on the CIP list. Natalie told the Board the cost of the property is within SDC Methodology guidelines, and that the property is within Parks Plan 2025 habitat cluster, and regional walking path. Five neighborhood associations, LOSD, and PTO endorse the purchase of the property. The neighborhood Friends group, Watershed Council, and Neighborhood Association are willing to fund, do remediation and maintenance of the property. Neighborhood fundraising has raised $50K, and $900K can be obtained from SDC’s. The remainder needed is $1.35M, which can come from future land acquisition bond renewal. That would necessitate moving budget figures around, since bond funds are not available yet.

Ivan reminded the Board, the CIP items are not funded projects, and until funding is approved the items will remain on the list. Acquisition of, properties is eligible for SDC funds at50%. Current projects approved for funding are East Waluga turf project, Iron Mt, Woodmont, Rassehk, and Roehr pathway improvements.

Brittany asked if there is a one-time tax benefit for the owner, and if Parks & Recreation would benefit from using the house on the property? Ivan said he was unable to comment as he has not seen the structure. Natalie told the Board that the neighborhood is raising funds to demolish the house on the property.

Natalie made a motion recommending the City Council make an offer of $1.8M to the owner of the Hallinan Woods Yates property without affecting current, funded parks projects. Brian seconded the motion. A roll call vote was held, and the motion passed, with Natalie Bennon, Brian Gullen, Amy Waterbury and Youth Members, Mariana Wahab and Cameron Iizuka voting ‘yes’. Bill Gordon, Brittany Weiler, Heidi Schrimsher and Scott Bullard voted ‘no’. (5-4)

The Board discussed the motion. Ivan answered Board questions, and told the Board how contingency funds are allocated and spent, and that contingency funds are used for maintenance projects under 100K.

Bill told the Board that the department brought some projects (a year and half ago) to the Budget Committee for approval. Currently approved projects are East Waluga turf project, IronMt, Woodmont, Raseek and Roehr pathway improvements.

On April 19, 2017, the Coalition for Hallinan Woods Park members spoke to the Parks Board. The Parks Board made a motion to not support the request for the City to allocate fiscal 2017/ 2018 general fund monies for the purchase of the private two acres adjacent to Hallinan Woods. The Board moved that the potential purchase be included in the list of Park’s CIP projects, but without priority.