NEWBERRY ‒ City of Newberry Director of Utilities and Public Works Jamie Jones addressed the Nov. 23 City Commission meeting to explain why the Water and Wastewater System Development ordinance was before them for the third time.
Following the first public hearing and first reading of Ordinance 2020-23 on Sept. 14, a motion was made that the wastewater system development charges would be calculated based on water meter size. Second reading was approved on Sept. 28.
Subsequently, a scriveners’ error was found on page 18, the portion of the ordinance that was to have been underlined had been struck through instead. Following consultation with the City Attorney’s Office, it was decided that the correction should be made and the ordinance should be read on second reading again.
The ordinance was placed on the Nov. 23 Commission agenda. However, Jones said he noticed just before the issue was brought up again that the error had not been corrected.
Following discussion, Commissioners moved ahead with the ordinance, but would consider this first reading instead of second. The motion to approve was made by Commissioner Rick Coleman with the caveat that the scriveners’ error be corrected prior to second reading. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Monty Farnsworth and received unanimous approval.
In other City business, Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas addressed the issue of a petition brought by William and Janet Stewart to abandon a Public Utility Easement (PUE) that runs over, across and beneath their property. The couple lives on a 2.93-acre lot located at 26304 NW 3 Ave., Newberry.
“Several years ago, the alleyways that run across the property were abandoned by the City,” said Thomas. “However, the quit claim deed used to abandon the alleyways specifically retained the PUEs that also ran along the alleyways, which is standard procedure,” he said.
In 2015, the Stewarts built a house on their property. They ordered a construction survey prior to building. However, the survey failed to identify that there were PUEs on the property and the house was built approximately in the middle of the lot and, inadvertently, over the PUE.
“The couple now has a contract for sale of the property, but the title company informed them that the existence of the PUEs creates a ‘cloud’ on the title,” Thomas said. “The removal of the PUEs will allow them to obtain title insurance on the property prior to the sale closing, which is why the owners are petitioning the City to abandon the PUEs.”
The Stewart’s petition was sent to Utility Director Jones for review. “He confirmed that the PUEs on the Stewart property were not in use and would likely never be needed by the City for any utility services,” said Thomas.
Due to Jones’ assessment, Thomas said, “staff’s recommendation to the Commission is to approve the petition.” Draft Resolution 2020-50 had been prepared and was included in the Commissioners’ packet. “It is a petition to abandon Public Utility Easements over, across and beneath Parcel 02025-000-000,” explained Thomas. The City Attorney prepared a quit claim deed as well for the mayor’s signature.
Following a brief discussion Commissioner Farnsworth moved to approve the petition. Commissioner Coleman seconded the motion, which resulted in unanimous approval.
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