June 17, 2015

One Beulah developer gets deeds, another still waiting

By Ken Beauchamp

Convinced that residential developer Brett Charvat has sufficiently met the requirements of his developer’s agreement with the city, Beulah’s council voted to transfer deeds for the 25 lots in the Barton Estates to him. When the deeds are recorded, Charvat will be able to sell lots and proceed with new home construction now that water and sewer lines are in place.
In conjunction, the city voted to approve a street improvement project for the development, which will be paid by special assessments directed to the property owners. The council also agreed to allow the development minus sidewalks, at this time, in order to reduce the amount of special assessments. Estimates for specials were listed at around $32,000 per lot and sidewalks would have added another $2,500 to that amount. Councilman Clyde Schulz noted that he would like to see sidewalks but voted with the majority in dropping them from the project.
Mayor Darrell Bjerke advised the council that recent discussions with a second developer, Owen Voigt, led him to believe that the transition of ownership in what is termed the Third Avenue Project or Terra Nova has proceeded to a point where Voigt has now acquired ownership of the lots from the former owner and financial institution.
At one point, the prior developer had deeded the lots to the city, but worries about acquiring the bank mortgage led the city not to file the deeds. While Bjerke sounded convinced all was well, Councilman Roger Gazur suggested the city attorney review the deal to make sure there were no more “loose ends” to be tied off.
If Voigt has successfully attained ownership of the property, what remains is for him to petition the city for a special assessment district to create a street project for that development. At one point the city had talked about combining the districts for both Barton and Third Avenue in order to save money on the bonding and legal process. Bjerke said after Monday night’s meeting that the two projects are too far apart for that now and, while it had been explored, the option appeared unworkable.
The city moved toward having around 50 residential lots for sale this building season but less progress was made on some unresolved issues presented by property owners. Two issues with water were presented during the three-hour meeting.
Cal Wagner appeared again about water problems he has with his home on Blackstone Lane in the Parkway Addition where overland flooding, along with sewer backups from Cypress Drive, have affected Wagner and some other owners in that area at the southern base of the development.
During a roughly half-hour long presentation, Wagner talked about his issues, city promises, and what it was going to take to fix the problem. It appears that the city has identified what the problems are and has taken some steps to alleviate them. An early warning signal has been installed to signal sewer failure. City crews were instructed to flush and jet Wagner’s lines several times a year, along with some other areas of trouble. Wagner questioned whether that was actually being done because he had been told he would receive an email from the city when it was done and had not received such contact. Gary Neuberger, supervisor of the water and sewer departments, disagreed, noting the work had been done even if no contact was made with Wagner.
During Wagner’s presentation, Councilman Gazur took exception with Wagner’s numbers in regard to years the problem has existed. Gazur noted that, by his math, it has been 17 years and not the 20 to 27 mentioned a number of times by Wagner. Gazur also questioned the expert opinion of a state plumbing inspector Wagner noted in his assessment of the main sewer line, which he says has sagged, settled and, by virtue of a line camera, he determined portions of the line have clogging and restricted flow. Studies over the years have determined that part of the problem with Wagner’s home and several others is that they were built below proper grade.

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