The Jenkins City Council took a step to provide advanced warning concerning the condition of a road to anyone purchasing land in the Summer Creek section of the city during a council meeting Monday, April 12.

Council members are concerned that those buying and developing land in that area may not be fully aware of the condition of the road to access parcels there. The council approved the plat of that section in 2004, when the city did not require developers' agreements or bonds to ensure that developed property met specific requirements.

As a result, the road accessing many of the properties in Summer Creek is not built to city standards, nor does the city recognize it as a road. For that reason, the council approved a notice of plat status for Summer Creek. It reads:

"You are hereby put on notice that the City of Jenkins approved the plat of Summer Creek in 2004. At that time, the city did not require a developer's agreement or bond to assure that all improvements depicted in said plat would be constructed. More specifically, Summer Creek Circle has not been constructed and anyone buying a lot within this plat expected to use that street for access is now on notice that the city has no plans to assist with construction of that street."

The notice of plat status ensures that buyers are aware of the condition of the road before they purchase land on Summer Creek Circle. Mayor Jon Lubke said there have been past issues where residents in other sections of the city purchased property with the belief that the access to that property was constructed, maintained and recognized by the city as a proper street only to find out otherwise later.

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This notice of plat status will have to be disclosed to any future buyers on Summer Creek Circle.

Resident Jeff Wooley spoke during public comment concerning Summer Creek Circle as well. He said an attempt to develop the land in that area many years ago failed because the council then required the road to have two access points so that in the event of an emergency the road would not be blocked off if an emergency vehicle parked there.

Clerk Krista Okerman said she was unable to find any record of that ruling; however, it may be the case that this neighborhood went by a different name at one time. She agreed to do more research into the matter.

'Slum and blight'

The council heard comment from resident Jason Baca, who owns a property on the corner of Second Street and Highway 371, concerning the city's application to the Small Cities Development Program. Baca addressed the city's designation of a "slum and blight" zone in the city, which has attracted opposition in recent monthly meetings.

Baca said such a designation could be used in eminent domain cases in the future. This is a concern that has been brought up at past meetings as well. Baca asked each council member whether they think his property is a slum, which they said they did not. He then said they only made the designation for the money and complained about what he called entitlement programs.

According to a presentation by John Schumer, of the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority, at a Feb. 14 council meeting, the designation is only on record with the application for the program and in city council minutes. It is not applied to any form of property records.

The designation is, however, necessary to qualify the city for a chance to be included in the program, which could provide forgivable loans for the improvement of qualified residential and commercial properties. Similar programs have been used in many area cities.

It is unclear if designation for this program has actually been abused for eminent domain as no example of a designation such as for the Small Cities Development Program has been presented.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Agreed to work with the Pequot Lakes Diamond Club to make the city baseball fields more accessible to intermediate level games. The field currently is set up exclusively for younger players; however, the club wished to work with the city to make the field qualify for intermediate level games by installing 70-foot bases and a portable pitching mound at an appropriate location.

The council agreed so long as it did not impede the use of the field by groups that currently use the field. Because the club is offering manpower and equipment for updating the field, the city would only have a $2,600 share of the costs, with that cost associated with bringing in dirt.

  • Approved renewing the Pequot Lakes Fire Department contract for service. An increase in cost is anticipated in a year, but the current contract did not change.
  • Agreed to install two stop signs and a speed limit sign on Cemetery Road to eliminate issues of speeding.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.