By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Negotiations between the city and dozens of property owners who will be affected by the third phase of 19th Avenue North extension will commence soon, following the Clinton City Council’s approval Tuesday night.
The project requires the acquisition of all or parts of land from approximately 40 property owners, which will cost $475,000. Most of the acquisitions, 33 properties, will be temporary easements.
Two residents spoke during a public hearing that was part of the City Council meeting. George Long, of the 1900 block of North Fifth Street, asked the council about the bike path that will be constructed on the north side of the road as part of the project and urged the council to use barriers in order to avoid any potential accidents.
Donald Price, of the 700 block of 19th Avenue North, shared his concerns about backing out of his garage onto 19th Avenue North once it is completed and traffic becomes heavier.
According to City Engineer Jason Craft there are a number of driveways that are a concern along the construction. These will be widened to the maximum width and as flat as possible in order to ease the residents with direct access to 19th Avenue North.
Craft said the road is anticipated to carry 6,000 vehicles and 60 to 80 trucks daily once completed. The amount of traffic is comparable to the amount on Main Avenue between Mill Creek Parkway and 16th Street North West. The traffic count along 19th Avenue North is projected to reach 11,000 by 2030.
“I think that is anticipating growth, economic development. Anticipating things that aren’t necessarily going to happen, like 19th Avenue being Highway 136,” Craft said.
At-large councilmember Jennifer Graf said some residents were unaware that what they believed to be their property was actually in the city right of way. She asked why the road and bike path wouldn’t be built so that the houses on the north side would be completely purchased.
When refining the project design, Craft said, the decision was made to shift the road south around Seventh Street, which now means four properties along the south side will need to be completely purchased. It will also give some residents on the north side a larger front yard than they have now.
The city and a right-of-way agent with the project’s engineering firm will work with the property owners to produce a compensation agreement. However, if an agreement can’t be amicably worked out, the case will head to an eminent domain proceeding for the court to decide what the property owner should be paid.
Ultimately, each negotiation will end with the city purchasing the property, which will need to be approved by the council.
Craft anticipates this part of the third and final phase on the 19th Avenue North extension will take one year or more.
The City Council approved the resolution with Ward 1 councilmember Maggie Klaes casting the dissenting vote.