GRANDVIEW - Whether or not the city is willing to vacate nearly 20 feet of right-of-way along Wine Country Road to enable the expansion of the local Dairy Queen is a decision that will be made at a later date.
Monday night, Grandview City Council members held a public hearing on the request recently made by Dairy Queen owner Ken Herber. The request asks the city to vacate 18 feet of right-of-way from the back of the existing sidewalk, which would allow the business to expand, adding more seating and public restrooms.
According to a letter written by Herber in March, when improvements were made to Wine Country Road, which included widening the road to include a center turn lane, he was told that once the improvements were completed the right-of-way would be vacated to the adjacent property owners along the section of road. He wrote that since work started on Wine Country Road he has been working on his plans to expand his business.
But now, Bill Huibregtse of Huibregtse, Louman Associates, Inc. told council members Monday night that he recommends the city not vacate the right-of-way. He noted that Wine Country Road is the city's primary arterial street and that he felt it was important for the city to maintain possession of the right-of-way along the road.
Huibregtse noted that in his more than 30 years of experience working as an engineer for cities throughout the Valley, he can't remember there being a situation where a city vacated right-of-way and didn't realize later that they needed the property back.
"That property and right-of-way needs to serve the community for 50 to 100 years," Huibregtse said. He added that even if the city opts not to widen the street further in the future, the right-of-way could be needed for future utility placement.
City Councilwoman Pam Horner then asked if building out toward Wine Country Road was the only way Dairy Queen could expand.
"I'd like to suggest...that he look at expanding that other way," Horner said.
Mayor Norm Childress explained that the decision the council makes regarding the request from Herber is important because it will likely set a precedent when it comes to the other businesses located along Wine Country Road.
Childress added that it's hard to make a decision like this, which requires the city to look so far into the future.
"It's hard to have a crystal ball," Childress said. Possible uses for the property in question could be a luminaria or even a pathway.
"I don't think there's not going to be a time when we don't need (the right-of-way)," Childress said.
Councilman Robert Morales said he would like to see the city have a conversation with Herber before a final decision is made on the right-of-way vacation. He noted that maybe Herber could reconfigure his plan for expansion. "Maybe there are some things we're not considering," Morales said.
"I would really like to have Mr. Herber in front of us," said Councilwoman Helen Darr.
Grandview City Council voted to table the decision on vacating the 200-foot length of right-of-way along Wine Country Road until its next meeting on Monday, May 16.