Vienna citizens continue Second Street discussion

By Colin Willard, Staff Writer
Posted 11/16/22

VIENNA — At the Vienna City Council’s Nov. 7 meeting, board members heard continued arguments about a dispute over an undeveloped section of Second Street.

Dan Vore, the owner of …

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Vienna citizens continue Second Street discussion

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VIENNA — At the Vienna City Council’s Nov. 7 meeting, board members heard continued arguments about a dispute over an undeveloped section of Second Street.

Dan Vore, the owner of Junker’s Junction, displays antiques for sale on the part of Second Street west of Highway 63. Bruce Struemph and Charlie Buntsma each own land that they would like to access via Second Street. They say Vore’s antiques keep them from developing driveways to access their properties.

After hearing from all three parties, the council voted to table the discussion until next month’s meeting, but Vore would need to move his antiques off the north half of Second Street within five days of the meeting.

South Ward Alderperson Brenda Davis shared her thoughts first. She is not in favor of the city vacating the street.

“As a city council, we have to think about the future of our city,” Davis said. “We don’t know what kind of growth there could potentially be. That (Second Street) could be an avenue to the west in the future, and if it’s closed, we have then closed that avenue off.”

Later in the meeting, she clarified that she did not mean next month or next year but perhaps as far off as hundreds of years. “Right now, everybody flees small towns,” Davis said. “But 200 years from now, believe it or not, Vienna could be a thriving (city).”

Mayor Tyler “TC” James said he agreed that the city should not vacate the street. He mentioned that unimproved streets and alleys cut through houses all around town, including alleys that run through his barn. He suggested the city take no action.

James told Struemph that he already has “plenty of access” to his property, and he acknowledged that Buntsma does not have access to his property from Second Street, but “there is no road and there is nothing back there.”

“He (Vore) has deliberately parked stuff and put stuff to block me,” Buntsma replied.

James told them that if Struemph and Buntsma wanted to make improvements and build something on their properties that they could access from Second Street, the city would go and tell Vore to move his antiques off the street.

“To me, if that part is not really accessible, it’s like you guys are kind of poking him,” James told Struemph and Buntsma. He said that if Vore’s antiques were on a paved street, it would change things.

Davis said she did not think Vore should be able to sell his antiques on the public street.

James suggested the city let the issue go until it decides to build a roadway on Second Street. North Ward Alderperson Rita Juergens said that was the solution in her opinion.

Struemph said he had the land surveyed to see where the lines of the street began and ended. “Now I know what I’ve got to work with,” he said. “There’s no way he (Vore) can claim that public property. If you guys don’t tell him to get his stuff off there, Charlie and I have the right to come down there and put whatever we want on there.”

James and Davis agreed with Struemph. Davis said now that the property lines are clear, and the city owns the disputed property, Vore should clear his antiques off the street.

“I do not believe it behooves the city of Vienna to allow private individuals to set up their whatever (on public property),” Davis said. She told Vore that she has no problem with him walking on the street to access his lean-to, but displaying things for sale on the street is not a good idea. “I feel like we have to be fair and impartial to all parties, and if we say that ‘it’s city property, but you can put your stuff there,’ then we are saying that this person is more important.”

Vore said he had no problem if Struemph or Buntsma wanted to leave things for sale on the street next to his items. When Struemph asked if Vore had a problem if they drove through the spot, Vore said he would not have a problem with that either.

“When you got stuff there in our way?” Struemph asked.

Juergens asked Struemph why he would want to drive on the street. “You shouldn’t be driving through there,” she said. “It’s a dead end. It hasn’t been developed yet.”

Buntsma said in the future he may put a house on his property that he would like to access from Second Street.

“In the future, you would need to come back, and we would address it at that time,” Juergens told Buntsma.

“I can drive on the grass,” Buntsma said. “I don’t need a road to drive down there.”

“The future is right now,” Struemph said. “I’ve called Dig Rite. I’ve got trees marked out. I’m ready to do something.”

If Struemph has immediate plans to develop his part of the property, “that’s a different story,” James said. “If the fill trucks are coming and we’re dozing it out, it’s a non-issue. We’ll clear it out to where you can drive down in there.”

Davis said her perspective remained unchanged, and residents should not store private property on city streets. She also questioned the city’s liability regarding Second Street. City Attorney Ross Bush said the city is at no more liability by allowing Second Street to continue operating as it is now.

“I can see asking Mr. Vore to move his stuff off, if you can tell us in 60 days you plan on starting a road down there,” Police Chief Shannon Thompson told Struemph.

“Tomorrow, if that’s what it’ll take to get this done,” Struemph said.

Vore asked what Struemph wanted. Struemph told him that he wanted to drive through the spot where Vore had his antiques. Vore said he would move them so both Struemph and Buntsma could drive through.

“There’s really no reason for them to drive through there right now,” Vore said. “Common sense says you wouldn’t even think about starting a road through there, but if that’s what they want to do that’s their business.”

Vore asked if the city would vacate the street if all three parties could come to an agreement. Davis said she still did not like the idea of vacating the street.

South Ward Alderperson Jesse Jones expressed concern that making Vore move his property off the city street could open a “can of worms” in regard to other undeveloped city streets.

“That’s the way it is right now,” Struemph said. James clarified that under current precedent, residents such as Struemph and Buntsma would be able to place their property next to Vore’s items on Second Street.

Davis acknowledged that the lean-to on the building was thought to be part of Vore’s property when he purchased it even though it is actually on Second Street. She said as long as the city is not using the street, she does not think the lean-to needs removal.

Bush suggested that if the council had concerns about the public having items for sale on a public street, they should vote to clear a reasonable amount of Second Street. Clearing the full 60 feet allocated for the street would require the removal of Vore’s lean-to. Bush said clearing 10 feet on either side of the centerline would allow for two driving lanes.

Struemph said he did not want Vore to put his antiques on the 10-foot section on the north half of the street. He suggested the council instead look at clearing 10 feet south of the centerline and the entire 30 feet north of the centerline.

Vore asked the council to table the discussion until next month’s meeting to give him time to explore a few ideas he had for solutions. Thompson told Vore if he has an idea to resolve the situation, “perhaps tonight is the night.”

Vore eventually made the suggestion to table the discussion for the next meeting and clear his antiques off the north half of the street within five days, which the council approved.

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