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Lawrence Lane Won’t Connect To Lafayette Street: Council




Archbold Village Council opted to go with a scaled-down street project that won’t see Lawrence Lane extended to connect with Lafayette Street at the Monday night, Oct. 1 meeting.

In a post-meeting interview, Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, said the village could not come to agreements with the two developers who own property in the area.

Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, identified those developers as the Harley Burkholder Family of Stryker, through Meadowfield Development LTD, and Lugbill Brothers, Inc., Archbold.

Under the traditional development practices, a developer goes to the village and requests a street constructed to allow development of building lots. The village constructs the street, absorbing a small portion of the cost. The rest is charged to the owner of the lot, whether that is the developer or the person who buys a lot to build a home. The charge is known as a special assessment.

Special assessments can be paid off as a lump sum or over 23 years on the biannual tax bill.

In this case, the village wanted to construct the street. Village officials approached the developers, offering to forgo special assessment payments until the lots were sold to homebuilders.

Sticking Points

Wyse said there were several sticking points in the negotiations.

•The cost of the project came in about 20% higher than the original estimated figures that were shown to the developers about 18 months ago.

•Village officials required that at the end of 20 years, the village be reimbursed by the developers for the bulk of the cost of constructing the street.

•The Village also wanted to “front load” the sale of the lots, in which the first 75% of lots sold paid all of the assessments.

The developers, Wyse said, “weren’t comfortable with all of the provisions.”

Plus, he said, the developers ‘didn’t feel the time was right.”

“We understood their concerns,” Wyse said.

Project Selected

Council decided to do only Division A of the project.

Division A is the addition of 400 feet to the west end of Lafayette Street to serve the new Archbold Evangelical Mennonite Church, which is currently under construction.

Also, there will be a second, unnamed street, that would extend from Lafayette Street 300 feet to the south, along the east side of the church property.

Division A also calls for the construction of a storm sewer from the church property to Lawrence Lane, following the path of what would have been the Lawrence Lane extension.

The low bidder for the Division A was Heer Excavating, Archbold. The firm is to build the streets and storm sewers for $408,308.75. The figure is $151,691.25 under the engineer’s estimate of $590,000. In percentage terms, the Heer bid is 25.7% under the estimate.

Council members voted to make the construction of the project contingent on obtaining easements from the various landowners.

Wyse said the Monday night vote is not the end for the extension of Lawrence Lane.

“They can still come to us in the future” and ask that the street be built, he said.

Earlier, council had debated questions about whether or not to build the Lawrence Lane extension.

At issue were the anticipated loss of income tax revenue from the announced closing of the ConAgra plant, and the proposed no-assessments offer to developers. – David Pugh


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