Vienna City Council revisits Second Street dispute

By Colin Willard, Staff Writer
Posted 1/25/23

VIENNA — Three Vienna property owners returned to the city council meeting on Jan. 9 to continue working through an issue regarding an undeveloped portion of Second Street.

Dan Vore, the …

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Vienna City Council revisits Second Street dispute


VIENNA — Three Vienna property owners returned to the city council meeting on Jan. 9 to continue working through an issue regarding an undeveloped portion of Second Street.

Dan Vore, the owner of Junker’s Junction, had antiques for sale displayed on 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 said Vore’s antiques kept them from developing driveways to access their properties.

The men first presented the issue to the council at the October meeting. In November, the council approved a motion to table the discussion until the next meeting if Vore were to clear the southern half of the street within five days. The decision would allow Struemph and Buntsma to do what they want on the north half of the street. None of the men attended the December city council meeting.

“Charlie, Bruce, Daniel,” Mayor Tyler “TC” James greeted the trio. “Everybody’s all best friends now?” he asked.

“No, not quite,” Struemph replied.

“Where are we at?” James asked. “You (Vore) moved everything to the southern half.”

Struemph said Vore had not moved everything. He said three windmills were still sitting on the northern half of the street. Then, he asked Vore if he planned to move the remaining items.

“As soon as I get Dig Rite out there because I have to put sticks out there to make sure that I don’t hit a line,” Vore said.

Streumph asked what it would take to vacate the street.

James said he skimmed the requirements. Vacating the street would need the approval of a percentage of adjoining landowners. James said that because of the way it is drawn up, he did not think a decision would need to include Buntsma.

South Ward Alderperson Brenda Davis said she thought it was a two-thirds requirement, which would need approval from both Struemph and Vore. She suggested the city enter a lease agreement with Vore for the south section of the street. All his items would have to be on his property or the part of the street the city leased to him.

“The problem is maybe Charlie wants him further than the southern 20 or 30 feet,” James said. “In my opinion, we almost have it split. If he’s going to move his stuff to the southern half, I think we’re kind of good to go. If Charlie gets a road put in there where you can drive into it, then we can address that 10 feet there that would be your access.”

James said he did not believe the city would vacate it because it would cut off Buntsma’s access.

Struemph said he would be fine leaving things as they are if Vore moved the windmills.

Vore said within a week he would have the windmills moved. They are no longer on that side of the street.

Red tags

Another matter the council addressed was the protocol for red tags used to notify account holders that their water bills were past due. If bills were not paid by the 10th day of the following month, the account holders would receive red tags on their door knobs. The tags would inform them they had until the 20th of the month to pay the bill or have their water shut off.

The council voted to discontinue the red tags after citing reasons of practicality. The red tags are paper, and they are not weatherproof. Rain could easily ruin them, or wind could blow them off doors before residents saw them.

Starting in January, the city will turn off water services without notice for overdue accounts that do not pay by the 20th of each month or the closest business day. Dudenhoeffer said that as a courtesy, the city will try to notify overdue account holders with email addresses on file, but there is no guarantee. Residents will be accountable for overdue bills regardless of if they receive notification before the city shuts off their water.

Sewer project

The city council reviewed requests for qualifications submitted by engineering firms for an upcoming sewer project.

“My personal opinion would be MECO (Engineering),” James said. “I’ve worked with them before on the sidewalk, so you kind of know who you’re getting and what you’re dealing with. I thought they did pretty well.”

Davis said Bartlett and West impressed her, but MECO had been excellent to work with in the past. She agreed that MECO was the best choice because of the city’s prior projects with the company.

Utilities Superintendent Shon Westart said they were both “fine firms.”

Davis made a motion to select MECO as the firm to guide the city through the project. It passed unanimously.

Bankruptcy case

At last December’s city council meeting, the city received a case file regarding the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of GTT Communications, Inc, a telecommunications and internet service provider company headquartered in Virginia. At that meeting, City Clerk Karen Dudenhoeffer said she would send the information to city attorney Ross Bush.

Bush attended the January meeting. He said that he received the information. If there is a structured settlement, it will come to the city. He said nothing else needs doing unless the city receives payment as part of a structured settlement.

Marijuana tax

The council also voted to put a measure on the ballot in April to put an additional sales tax on recreational marijuana sales within the city limits.


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