NORTH MANKATO — After earlier not acting on a staff recommendation to forcibly annex a property, the North Mankato City Council has approved the measure.
Robert Chester had a house and outbuildings on a two acre parcel at 2240 Coventry Lane that is not in the city limits even though it has been surrounded by housing development.
The property became an issue because the well Chester uses, under a long-term agreement, is on a neighboring property. That property is being developed and the future home owner and developer want the title and well issue cleared up.
Acting City Administrator Mike Fischer told the council that months of attempts to negotiate with Chester have been fruitless. Fischer said Chester came to city staff and said he wanted to be annexed, but repeated attempts to follow up with him resulted in no contact.
Councilman Bob Freyberg said he had a problem with forced annexation that is being driven by a developer who should have gotten the well issue cleared up before proceeding. “This is not a problem necessarily caused by Mr. Chester.”
But councilmen Billy Steiner and Bill Schindle said the city has bent over backwards to work with Chester and Chester indicated he wanted to be annexed but then was unavailable to follow up.
In the end Schindle, Steiner, Mayor Mark Dehen and, “reluctantly,” Freyberg voted to approve the forced annexation of Chester’s property. Councilwoman Diane Norland was not at the meeting Monday night. They did extend the time Chester has to pay assessments of $30,000 for water and city services to 10 years.
No one spoke on Chester’s behalf at the meeting. Chester did not return a phone call from The Free Press.