Council approves sale of business park lot

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


While the Washington City Council agreed 5-0 to lower the cost of Lot 2 in the Washington Business Park from its list price of $30,000 to $25,000, the council members had some concerns about the use for the lot.

Developer Jim Schrier, who also owns a trucking business, plans to construct a building on the lot for his business, as well as additional businesses or industrial condos. Industrial condos, which provide a low-cost manner of starting new businesses, are featured in the Tiffin business park. Realtor Tim Elliott attended the council meeting to answer questions on the project.

?How does this fit with the covenants that said if you buy the lot you can?t sell it and you can?t subdivide the lot,? council member Steve Gault asked. ?That is what we all said. If you are going to sell a section of the building, you are subdividing the lot.?

Gault said that he didn?t mind the concept of the industrial condos, but said he was concerned it might set a precedent.

City Attorney Kevin Olson said according to the city?s rules, lots couldn?t be subdivided, which is not what the industrial condos would do. He said the building could be divided into sections and either sold as a unit or rented.

?In this case they are not actually subdividing the land,? Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said. ?I think this is something that we wanted to see happen. It is something that has become a trend and it is a great way to get businesses that are just starting and allow them to grow.?

Hinson said there are many restrictions that go along with selling a condo, and legally it is not its own distinct property in a land sense.

Council member Elaine Moore asked if they were used as condos, if the city had everything in writing to cover nuisances. Olson said because the city owns the lots, it can enforce covenants.

?Rentals make me nervous,? Moore added.

Gault said the city would have no say about what kind of business could be sold a condo.

Elliott said the intent is to sell the condos and that Schrier did not want to rent them. Elliott also worked to address concerns that the city would have little control over the kinds of businesses that could go into the industrial condos. There was discussion over whether a retail business could go into the building. Hinson said he wasn?t sure if one could or not and said he would look into the matter.

Despite hesitations, the council did approve the sale.

Before this, only one lot had been sold to Kalona Cooperative Technology Company (KCTC) with the business having an option to purchase another lot.

The 30-acre park was completed in 2016. The lots were sold by the city to WEDG on contract and are being marketed at the cost of $30,000 per acre. Each lot comes with water, sewer, and electrical hookups and is considered ?shovel ready.?