Private road may be heading in new direction

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

Village Street SE, a private road in New Prague, may be heading in a new direction.

New Prague Planning Director Ken Ondich presented information about the road to the New Prague City Council at its meeting Monday, June 7. Village Street is a 24-foot wide one-way going east to west in Prague Estates Fifth Addition, between Doherty Avenue and 10th Avenue SE. A fully developed attached townhome portion is on the south side of the street and a single family detached home portion, which has 15 vacant lots out of 24 platted, is on the north. Both areas are subject to their own development associations with responsibility to maintain the road.

In April, association presidents Gary Eagen and Jackie Frolund submitted a letter requesting the city assume responsibility of Village Street. New Prague City Administrator Mike Johnson, Public Works Director Dennis Seurer and Ondich met with the two later that month.

Ondich noted among city staff's concerns is the lack of maintenance to the road since its construction in 2003 and the placement of utilities, which would require a survey to find if the utilities are within the right of way. An agreement may be needed requiring property owners to pay for 100 percent of street and utility reconstruction when needed since the street was not built to city standards. Also, each resident of Village Street would have to sign off on the deeding of the road to the city.

Another possible detour to a solution is that the city would have to deal with representatives of banks and/or mortgage companies that own the remaining vacant lots in that area.

Ondich noted there are two other private roads in Prague Estates, Praha Street SE and Jillian Street SE, which are being maintained by the homeowner associations along those roads.

Johnson explained the city has changed its zoning ordinances to no longer allow any private streets.

Is the council even interested in taking over the road? asked Ondich.

Council member Kristin Guerrette asked if the Village Street homeowners associations would have to pay 100 percent for work on the street now? City staff noted the associations were responsible.

Council member Ken Betterton felt it would benefit the community if the council waited for the completion of the subdivision.

Council member Kay Wilcox believed the city should model the situation after one in Mounds View where the taxpayers didn't put a penny into the take over of a private road.

The consensus of the council was that city staff work on the situation and present it to the council at a later date.

Ondich noted Eagen and Frolund will be discussing their next steps and may not get back to city staff until July.

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