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The rights to the right-of-way

SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley may be one step closer to gaining railroad right-of-way near the west sewer interceptor, which is needed in order for the city to build an access road to transport equipment near the site.

On Monday, the council authorized an easement agreement with stipulations with Hawkeye Land Co. for $50,000. The final decision came despite questions regarding why the city has easements for every other sewer pipe in the area, but not any for the piping near the west sewer interceptor.

After an attempt to locate easement documentation for the location, city officials weren’t able to locate any paperwork associated with the property until Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday — a day after the decision was approved to authorize an easement with Hawkeye Land Co., Mayor Walt Marini said Superintendent of Public Works John Schultz located paperwork for the sewer line, which could possibly mean the city already has some sort of rights to the land.

Marini couldn’t say for sure if the paperwork was an easement but said lawyers from Hawkeye Land Co. and Spring Valley City Attorney Jim Andreoni were working to determine what rights the city might already have based on the paperwork. If the city already has rights to the land, they could avoid the $50,000 payment to Hawkeye Land Co.

At the council meeting Monday, Marini expressed how he had gotten a bad feeling when working with a representative from Hawkeye Land Co., who originally wanted to charge the city $160,000 for the easement.

“For whatever reason he seemed to be in a big hurry, like he wanted it done yesterday,” he said. “He wanted me to call a special meeting, and I had to tell him I didn’t have the authority to agree to that much money and that it would have to come from the board.”

Marini explained the representative dropped his price to $65,000 and then to $60,000 and ended negotiations at $50,000. On Tuesday, Marini admitted he never got a good feeling when talking with the Hawkeye Land Co. representative.

He wasn’t the only one who had issues with dealing with Hawkeye Land Co. At the meeting Monday, Andreoni expressed he had concerns with Hawkeye Land Co. land agreement.

One issue in the agreement was the city wouldn’t be able to expand or replace their existing sewer pipes on the property. Andreoni explained if the city agreed to spend $50,000 and then the Environmental Protection Agency was to come in and force the city to replace their sewer pipes, it just couldn’t fly.

Andreoni called the agreement language “unacceptable.”

Andreoni also had concerns with the legal title agreement to the property. While the easement would allow the city to have access to the road, it was discovered Hawkeye Land Co. only had a 100-year lease on the property. Andreoni said he wanted to clarify that detail before signing the agreement to get a clear understanding who exactly owned the land.

Marini reassured the city would complete a title search on the property to make sure they were dealing with the right property owners before signing the agreement.

An answer should be available at the next council meeting as to what rights the city already might have with the land and whether or not the city will actually have to sign an easement with Hawkeye Land Co.

In other news, the board:

• Approved an ordinance authorizing golf carts/neighborhood vehicles in city limits beginning Nov. 1. Alderman Jack Narczewski said he had a problem with the idea. The council voted 5-2, with Narczewski and Alderman James Taliano voting no. Alderman Mark Actis was absent from the meeting.

• Set trick-or-treat hours from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

• Agreed to waive building permit fees for St. Bede Assisted Living Center.

• Amended an ordinance that allows the city to suspend or revoke a license to sell tobacco products. The change to the ordinance reassures business owners have the right to a hearing after their license is revoked.

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