Mower commissioners approve resolution to make township continue maintaining development roads

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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The Mower County Board of Commissioners, during their meeting Tuesday morning, passed a resolution requiring a county township to continue maintaining roads that have been at the heart of a back and forth between residents and the township.

Commissioners agreed with residents in the Meadow on Dobbins Creek development that Red Rock Township should continue maintaining 228th Street and 574th Avenue after the township made the decision to stop plowing the roads in January because of concerns over the roads themselves.

In Tuesday’s approved resolution, the board ruled that Red Rock is required to continue ensuring the two roads in question are to be maintained and made passable.

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The development itself is located just east of Austin, branching off of 570th Avenue with 228th and 227th connecting up with 574th Avenue, which ends in another cul-de-sac. There are 13 homes along 227th, but none along 228th with only one home off of 572nd Avenue. Another three homes are located at the end of 574th Avenue.

In a letter to commissioners in February, it was explained that supervisors elected to stop plowing the roads because of deteriorating conditions of the roads and a fear that by plowing the pavement it would only make the conditions worse.

However, residents in the development signed and delivered a petition to commissioners requesting the board intervene on the issue, claiming that if the roads aren’t made passable then it only leaves one way in and one way out — 228th Street.

They also noted that pot-holes and the conditions of the roads themselves have raised safety concerns.

At the heart of the issue, something pointed out to commissioners in their letter, is that Red Rock Township never adopted the two roads because they were never recorded, claiming that one of the developers, Dan Hodgeman, never requested it throughout the history of development, which goes back to 2004.

The letter also showed that there was a request to accept 572nd Street by Hodgeman, which is a small cul de sac off of 228th Street, but that requests to Hodgeman to attend meetings on the subject were never answered. During a Mower County Board of Commissioners meeting on Feb. 27, Hodgeman claimed he’s never received any correspondence from the township.

However, the township continued plowing that road due to safety concerns and indicated that they would continue to do so based on those grounds.

Even though 228th and 574th were never recorded or adopted, the township has been plowing and making the roads passable for 20 years of the development’s lifespan.

This, together with receipts showing road work by the county and billed to the township, indicated to the board that the intent to continue maintaining the roads had been demonstrated and that the township should continue doing so.

“For greater than 10 years they have been maintained by the township as township roads,” Tuesday’s resolution read. “They have been plowed, surfaced and generally managed in a way that would lead a landowner to believe it is a township road. In 2018, the Mower County Highway Department seal coated them and in 2019, crack filled them on behalf of and at the request of the township.”

At the same time, commissioners came up short on the question of whether or not the township could be forced to officially adopt the road.

“I don’t think you can order them to adopt it, but you can order them to maintain it and make it a passable road,” County Attorney Kristen Nelsen said.