Knox City Council amended their agenda to consider two petitions when they met last Tuesday. The first petition was from JW Hicks for voluntary annexation of a piece of real estate into the city of Knox. Members unanimously approved a motion to enter the petition into their minutes and to advertise for a public hearing over the request.
Members also addressed a request from business owner Tim Miller related a dual-purpose structure he’s trying to build on Pacific Avenue. Miller’s petition asks the city to vacate a 66-foot easement behind his property so he can meet the 40-foot set back requirement for rear-yards on commercial properties.
He added that he’s also interested in utilizing the extra space to install a safer exit, as the current one is near the railroad tracks which are elevated and he foresees potential issues with that placement. He added that the area is abandoned and has essentially been used as a dumping ground over the last several years and he’d be willing to clean it up.
Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston said the city dealt with a similar request in the past when they vacated Atlantic Avenue behind John Street. He said they’ll need to go back and look at what they did in that case and that he’d feel better if they consulted legal counsel on the matter.
Mayor Dennis Estok mentioned that one issue with vacating the area is that it will cut off any access to a city-owned acre that is behind Miller’s property. Council members were in agreement that since the area hasn’t been utilized for some time and there are no future plans for it, they’d feel comfortable selling it. Miller said he would be willing to buy the property.
Mayor Estok said that in order to sell it, two market values would need to be gathered and an average price for the plot will have to be established.
Since Miller has been attempting to obtain a building permit since November, Mayor Estok recommended that he should appeal to the BZA for a variance on the rear-yard set back to get construction started as soon as possible, as it will likely be a lengthy process to vacate the requested area and sell the acre of land.
Miller’s petition to vacate the area and his indication that he’s interested in purchasing the city’s acre of property was submitted into the minutes but no official actions were taken on either request at the time. It will be readdressed in future city council meetings.