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Boynton Avenue right of way evidence presented



Lennox City Council made quick work of Monday night’s agenda, wrapping up the meeting in about thirty minutes.

With no visitors to be heard, Council approved the agenda with one change — removing item H., which was an IT Services Agreement with Raztech. Following that, the consent agenda was approved.

The Consent agenda included minutes from the Nov. 22 meeting, reports from the City Administrator and City Engineer, the claims and Finance report. Under old business, Council tabled the amendment to the City’s Personnel Policies, which updated the policies to show that the Performance Evaluation is also used to determine the size of any merit increase for an individual employee. Merit increases will be awarded based on the points awarded in the employee’s annual performance evaluation. Under New business Council approved Ordinance #631, Supplemental Appropriation Ordinance. Finance Officer Denise Hanson went through the items that were over budget, the Ordinance will be published in next week’s newspaper.

Also under old business, Council was provided research and information on the Boynton Avenue Right-of-Way .

City Administrator Nate Vander Plaats explained that at the November 22, 2021 City Council meeting, several residents along Boynton Avenue spoke about their concerns with the surveyed northern edge of the Boynton Avenue Project planned for 2022. Those residents had claimed that the right-of-way was anywhere from one to three feet further south than what was found by Stockwell’s surveyors.

Vander Plaats said in a memo to Council, “Our confidence in Stockwell’s survey remains very high given what they have found in researching several properties.”

He provided several plats along Boynton Avenue that provide detail on the Boynton Avenue right-of-way.

Vander Plaats said, “The plats show a well-established right-of-way of 66’, centered on the section line, with pipes establishing the corners of those properties on the north side of Boynton Avenue.”

One of the oldest plats was the 1884 plat of the Jacob’s Addition that gives a comprehensive view of the issue, stated Vander Plaats, “From what was at the time Maple Street (now Elm Street) to Cherry Street, this plat established the right-of-way as 33’ south of the section line. These documents provide clear and indisputable evidence that the Boynton Avenue right-of-way was established – at least as far back as 1884 – as 66’ wide and centered on the section line. This is a known line (and not an invisible line), with established caps.”

“It is also clear that over the years, several pins or other monuments have been incorrectly placed within the right-of-way. Without knowing who placed these monuments, it is difficult to know the basis for establishing those pins. However, there is not a doubt in my mind that these pins are incorrect, and that the survey completed by Stockwell Engineers has accurately located the right-of-way. If residents continue to dispute this evidence, I suggest that a third party surveyor be contacted to verify Stockwell’s findings. However, I see no need to continue along this path given the clear and convincing evidence provided,” continued Vander Plaats.

Council members concurred and thanked Vander Plaats for his time and research into the issue. These documents can be found on the City of Lennox’s website (cityoflennoxsd.com, under the menu: Government, Mayor and Council, City Council Meeting Agendas).

Council received the first look at the City of Lennox redistricting examples. Due to the increase in population, and by state statute, the City of Lennox must approve revised wards for the City Council. Lennox grew from 2111 residents in 2010 to 2419 residents in 2020 according to the recent census. The City of Lennox worked with SECOG to draft new ward options for the City, and shared three proposals with the Council that attempt to meet an optimal district size of 806 residents. No action was taken on the agenda item, as it was for discussion only.

Council next approved the termination of the lease with L.E.E. (Life Enrichment for the Elderly). The City of Lennox will be taking over management of the Senior Center and this is a step toward that end. This is a mutual decision between both organizations.

Vander Plaats noted, “Once the lease is terminated, LEE will no longer have a management role in the building, and we will take over all scheduling and use of the building. I am awaiting a draft lease from Active Generations for use of the kitchen and building every weekday for providing meals. We will continue to allow LEE to use the building for their monthly potluck, and we are developing a simple use agreement for all renters to complete.”

Council approved writing off the bad debt on the City’s utility system. These accounts will be sent to collections.

Council also agreed to partner with the Sioux Empire United Way to assist families by covering a portion of the costs to participate in the Lennox Parks & Recreation programs. Council member Britney Mower brought up the need to identify families with needs and let them know it is available.

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