WU council approves development agreements
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CUTLINE: Groundbreaking on the West Union Dental Associates property (left) began last week. As previously published in The Union, tentative plans are to open the doors on the 3,500-sq.-ft. structure, located adjacent to West Union Community Library, by March 2014. Meanwhile, property owner Gary Fox reported Thursday that tentative plans are to open the doors on the a U.S. Cellular 5th generation store (below), located across Highway 18 and northeast of the dental building, in mid- to late November. (Mike Van Sickle photo)
WU council approves development agreements
By Mike Van Sickle
The development agreements for a pair of new West Union businesses was approved by the City Council on Tuesday (Sept. 3).
According to the agreements, West Union Dental Associates will be provided certain incentives in the form of economic development payments in a total not to exceed $62,000. Meanwhile, an agreement with Appliance Plus provides for certain incentives in the form of economic development payments in a total not to exceed $21,000.
While no comments for or against the agreements were heard during the Sept. 3 public hearing, West Union resident Randy Petsche asked why construction was allowed to start on a building site (Appliance Plus) prior to the approval of the development agreements.
The local contractor noted that previously he and others were not allowed to begin construction on similar projects prior to City approval.
“I’m not against either of these projects; I just believe there are two sets of rules being followed,” he explained.
City Administrator Bob Vagts and the council members agreed that there is no legal issue with a contractor/developer starting construction prior to an agreement being reached with the City, but rather it is a financial risk the developer takes were the city not to approve a proposed agreement.
Groundbreaking on the West Union Dental Associates property began last week. As previously published in The Union, tentative plans are to open the doors on the 3,500-sq.-ft. structure by March 2014. The office will be located adjacent to the West Union Community Library on the former middle school property.
Appliance Plus owner Gary Fox reported Thursday that tentative plans are to open the doors on his 2,400-sq.-ft. structure in mid- to late November. Construction is well underway on the U.S. Cellular 5th generation store, located along Highway 18 near downtown West Union (across the highway and northeast of the dental building).
Fox explained that he had wished to expand his services in northeast Iowa and being similar in size to Oelwein and Independence, where he operates Appliance Plus stores, the Stanley native chose the West Union site.
“I have already met a number of people in the community and I am extremely happy with the welcoming response I have received,” said Fox, now of Oelwein.
Public hearing scheduled
Later, during Tuesday’s council meeting, the Council scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Oct. 7, to approve a lease agreement for the district geothermal infrastructure between the City and West Union District Energy, LLC.
Councilmember Cathy Bemiss said that she would want contract language between the LLC and the provider to include a maintenance contract.
Engineer Jon Biederman of Fehr Graham reported that communications continue with Alliant Energy to install a separate geothermal meter at the courthouse in West Union. He believes the energy used would be billed to the City, which would be reimbursed by the LLC.
In other business, the council:
• Approved appointing Sherri Imoehl to the West Union Community Library Board of Trustees for a six-year term.
• Approved invoices totaling approximately $830 from Upper Explorerland for grant administration.