By DAVID GREEN
Fayette village council members voted last week to renew a farmland agreement in the village despite hearing some cautions about possible use of the property.
James Crawford, Sr., of Wauseon—the owner of the 23.6 acre parcel in the village’s southeast quadrant—attended the meeting Aug. 28 to seek council’s renewal of a “farmland in an agricultural district” agreement. The agreement must be considered for renewal every five years.
Village solicitor Tom Thompson explained that the agreement is designed to protect agricultural property from municipal powers.
“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said, “but what you need to realize is that the municipality loses some of its authority over that land.”
Zoning laws would mean nothing. The property is currently used for grain production, but it could be sold and the new owner could bring in cattle or start a large dairy farm just beyond residential property.
Crawford said the land has been farmed for the past 40 years.
In addition, Thompson pointed out, council would lose some rights to eminent domain. If a water line to the school was wanted, for example, a right of way would have to be negotiated.
“The village could zone it any way they want?” Crawford asked about the possibility of non-renewal.
Thompson said that was true, but added that the property owner could express an opinion at a zoning hearing.
“It’s already zoned R1,” said village administrator Steve Blue, “but his use is grandfathered in for ag use since he’s in an ag district.”
The agriculture district designation trumps any zoning law, Thompson said.
Blue said the county auditor told him that most communities are turning down renewals of the agreements, but council members voted unanimously to extend Crawford’s request for another five years.
ROADS—Council member Julia Ruger said the biggest complaint she hears from people is regarding the condition of roads. She would like an ordinance written that directs future funding from the bond replacement approved by voters last year to a fund for road repair.
Thompson said the problem with dedicating funds to a particular purpose is that it can’t be used to help out in any emergency.
APPRECIATION—Council approved a certificate of appreciation for the Youth Invasion project that helped out with several village projects.
OVERDUE—Blue said a review of overdue utility bills showed $20,249 outstanding from rental properties and $3,577 from owner-occupied property.
REPAIR—Ruger asked who will repair damage to people’s property when the sewer project is completed. She said the “invisible fence” on her property was severed and she wants it repaired correctly. Otherwise, she will have the fence company handle the repairs and send the bill to Gleason, the sewer contractor.
Fayette mayor Ruth Marlatt said that when the sewer work is complete, Gleason will turn to clean-up and repairs.
COMPUTER—Council approved transferring unspent police department money out of the general fund to help purchase an in-car computer and printer.