CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council discussed the procedure for vacation of alleyways and the possibility of the city serving as a future endpoint for RAGBRAI this week at the regular council meeting.

City Administrator Tom Roth addressed an alley vacation request submitted by Diana Diedrich on behalf of City Attorney Tom Lonergan, who was not present at the council meeting. Roth said the city received a written request from Diedrich seeking vacation of the alleyway at Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue and to give ownership of the land to her at no charge. He noted that in the recent past, an alley was vacated to an adjacent property owner at an appraised value of 60 cents per square foot. Roth said Lonergan indicated the council might be willing to allow the vacation, but likely would want to see action from Diedrich on replatting the site before vacating the alley. Roth said he felt if Diedrich proceeds with redrawing the plat, the city could proceed with the vacation.

Building Inspector Tom Powell said Diedrich would need 10 feet of the alley for the re-platting or the site would be left with one standard lot and one sub-standard lot, which could not be built upon. Councilman Ron Wehde asked for clarification and questioned if that meant Diedrich would not be able to replat the site without first having the alley vacated. Powell indicated the city would have to take action first and councilman Trevor Willis suggested the council could approve the vacation on a contingency basis. Mayor Jim Robertson said he believed an appropriate solution would be to indicate a willingness to vacate the alley, at a charge to be determined, and give Diedrich somewhat of a “go-ahead” to replat the site.

Roth asked the council how such a situation would be dealt with if multiple property owners indicated a desire to have their alleyway vacated, saying there could be a potential “piecemeal” problem. Councilman Ken Fahlbeck asked if all the adjacent property owners had been notified of the vacation request and Roth replied that they hadn’t. Fahlbeck said notifying those property owners should be the next step. Roth said he would send letters to eight property owners identified as adjacent to the alley and potentially affected by the vacation.

Roth questioned whether the vacation was to be charged at 60 cents per square foot. Powell replied that in the previous case, an offer of $3,000 was made for the alley and the cost averaged out to 60 cents. Robertson suggested that a procedure for vacation of alleys be determined in an effort to be equal and fair in future dealings.

Later in the agenda, Roth asked the council if it would be interested in having him writing a letter to officials with RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, seeking to have Camanche be a ride endpoint at some time in the future. Roth said being an endpoint for the ride would be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. He said the event would not only offer an opportunity to showcase the city of Camanche, but possibly to garner proceeds for local organizations. He noted the event would take place during the last weekend in July and advised the council that for one day, the city would be turned upside down due to the volume of bicycle traffic. The council indicated a willingness to participate and authorized Roth to submit an application to ride officials seeking to be a future RAGBRAI endpoint.

Finally, Roth asked the council if there might be any interest in televising the council meetings. He said showing the council meetings on television could result in residents being better informed about city issues. Roth noted he has not contacted the local cable company regarding logistics of the suggestion. Robertson asked Roth to investigate the potential cost involved with the proposal and bring the issue back before the council at a later date.

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