Township to decide street issue

Township to decide street issue by David Lias The Clay County Commission decided Tuesday to rescind a decision it made last week.

Commissioner Paul Hasse was the only dissenting vote to a motion that allows the Fairview Township Board to decide an issue regarding street abandonment in Burbank.

During the commission�s March 7 meeting, Hasse noted that state law allows for either county commissions or township boards to decide such issues. He argued that the street issue in Burbank should be determined by the county commission, not the township. Despite dissenting remarks by County Commission Chairman Jerry Sommervold and other commissioners, they eventually approved Hasse�s motion.

Raymond Hall of the Fairview Township Board, and John Devaney, the township�s attorney, told the commissioners that they were taking local control away from the township.

�We find it a little bit difficult to go along with the decision made last week,� Hall said. �I guess we feel that is all together wrong. Where does the county stop and where does the township start? I guess we feel that this is strictly township business.�

�This board sits together as friends, as your board probably does, and we don�t always agree with everything, as it should be,� Commissioner Bill Willroth Sr. said to Hall. �I guess I�d like to personally apologize to you and your board for not making my intentions known last week. It wouldn�t have made any difference on the motion, but at least your board would have seen that we don�t always agree on everything.�

Hall said township�s concerns have grown to include more than the streets in Burbank.

�The issue here about what is going on down there is not as important,� he said. �In my opinion, the more important issue is where does your authority stop and where does our authority start?�

�We�re asking that you rescind your action,� Devaney said, �because we�ve scheduled a hearing (concerning the street) with the township board on March 28.

�The first avenue for a citizen to proceed is the township, and if the township doesn�t act, then absolutely, the county commissioners have the authority to act,� he added. �This is our first exposure to this, and I�m preparing to publish a notice of hearing on March 28. I think that�s timely action.�

Petitions were circulated by Burbank citizens in September 1999, calling for certain streets to be vacated. Those documents hadn�t yet been presented to the township, however. That may be one reason that it was mistakenly concluded that the township wasn�t dealing with the issue in a timely manner.

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