Couple have until June to remove improvements on landThe last City Council meeting of 2010 Monday was mostly about taking care of housekeeping chores.
The last City Council meeting of 2010 Monday was mostly about taking care of housekeeping chores.
The council heard from Velma Dockter regarding a resolution on the consent agenda directing her and her husband, Daryl Dockter, to remove all improvements from city property adjacent to their residence. Although the land belongs to the city it is a buffer to ancient Indian burial mounds in the area and therefore not available for sale. The North Dakota State Historical Society has jurisdiction regarding use of the property. Generally, the city is allowed to mow it and similar properties once or twice a year.
The Dockters not only mowed the land but planted trees and flowers, which is not allowed. In a unanimous vote, the City Council’s Finance and Legal Committee on Nov. 23 said all improvements had to go, including the trees.
Since then, Dockter said, she had contacted the Historical Society. She said she was told “they’ll go through the matter” and that “they were considering different options.” The Dockters have offered to purchase the strip of land.
City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said he got a call from the Historical Society indicating appreciation for the city’s concern for the property and its proximity to the burial mounds. He said there was no mention then of considering any use of the land by the Dockters.
Dockter asked the City Council to wait until spring to allow the Historical Society time to consider options. Also, she said, it would be impossible to do anything about removing improvements until spring.
Councilman Ken Schulz said he didn’t want residents to think they could use city property for their own purposes.
“But the council should be flexible enough to allow the Dockters until next spring,” said Councilman Pat Nygaard.
Councilman Charlie Kourajian said perhaps the council ought to hold off on the resolution, in case the Dockters are allowed to purchase the land.
“There’s nothing in this resolution preventing them from doing so,” said Mayor Katie Andersen.
The council voted unanimously to allow the Dockters until June 1 to remove improvements.
In other business the City Council approved:
* a resolution to not consider pursuing the establishment of a deer hunting season in portions of the city. Councilman Ramone Gumke looked into the problem of deer in yards and gardens. He said he did not find the problem severe enough for a hunting season and the dangers outweighed the gains.
* an insert on the snow removal process/policy in the newspaper and also making the information available in other locations.
* submitting a grant application in partnership with Montana-Dakota Utilities to research the feasibility of generating electricity from waste gas at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The electricity would be used to operate the plant and any excess would be sold on the grid.
* charging a fee of $1 at the baler for each fluorescent and/or mercury vapor bulb for disposal.
* the appointment of Travis Peterson to serve as special city prosecutor and Lisa Kapp, Beth Dewald, Tyler Moeller and Tanea Clocksene to serve on the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation Board starting in February.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com