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Friday, December 18th, 2009

Celina planners favor closing two alleys

Council to decide on vacation at Landmark

By William Kincaid
Celina Planning Commission on Thursday night had no problem recommending the vacation of two alleys crisscrossing the property of Mercer Landmark.
Planning members Tom Hone, Eldon Wetter, Ralph Stelzer, Celina Safety Service Director Rick Bachelor and Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue unanimously recommended vacating the alleys after listening to a brief presentation by Mercer Landmark attorney Tom Lammers.
The request now will go before city council members.
Mercer Landmark, located at 4190 W. Market St., wants the alley running north and south between Market and Livingston streets and the alley running east and west from Mill Street to the railroad vacated. Both thoroughfares intersect the business. In fact, the one alley runs between a series of giant grain bins.
Currently, the alleys are open to the public.
"It's more a matter of security and safety," Lammers said.
Because Mercer Landmark owns most of the property on both sides of the two alleys in question, it would acquire all of the property vacated if the request is eventually approved by city council, Bachelor said.
As part of the planning commission's recommendation, the city would obtain easements to allow access to the property if need be.
A sanitary sewer line is located underneath the alley running east and west from Mill Street and power lines run overhead on the alley running north and south between Market and Livingston streets.
Lammers assured planning commission members that Mercer Landmark would not build anything on or restrict access to the easements for city utility crews.
"We'll just need to get our equipment in there if anything comes up," city Engineering Assistant Jeremy Hinton said.
In early November, council's streets and alleys committee unanimously approved the request. Bachelor said most at that meeting agreed the move would be beneficial for all.
After the decision, Lammers said Mercer Landmark would pay additional property taxes on the newly acquired land.
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