VILLA GROVE — The council still isn't willing to give a permanent easement to the owners of a business property at 101 N. Sycamore St. that encroaches on city property by a little over 3 feet.
Current property owner Kimberly Young had requested a more permanent solution to the property issues to make it more marketable to potential buyers. Union Pacific railroad has expressed strong interest in purchasing the property depending on an acceptable agreement with the city.
Young's attorney, Mike McCormick, asked the city to help his client find a solution to help her sell the property and revitalize a business opportunity in town.
Mayor Terry Harbin and other aldermen are leery of trusting the railroad company based on previous experiences and lack of cooperation between the city and the railroad on other issues. McCormick argued that the city's zoning ordinances should be enough to regulate the use of the property and any violations that may or may not occur.
The council passed an agreement, 4-2, to offer a 25-year lease on the 3 feet of city property occupied by the business for $1.00. The lease will be renewable upon negotiations with the city administration at the time of renewal.
McCormick expressed dissatisfaction with the agreement and told the council that they had essentially made the property unmarketable to future buyers.