Round two in the county commissioners’ quest to convert the former Straub building in Marion into county shop and offices comes Monday when Marion City Council will for a second time consider a conditional use permit for the property.
Council members did not approve the county’s request in February, sending it back to the city planning and zoning commission, which again recommended approval April 6.
Commissioners expressed trepidation about the measure’s fate at Monday’s commission meeting.
Commissioner chair Randy Dallke said it’s his understanding that if all planned improvements were not made to the satisfaction of the city within 18 months, the property will be taxed.
Commission chair Randy Dallke complained last week he believes the city changes the rules as the process goes along.
“My thought on the Straub building is that I don’t want to enter any contract without knowing what our share in it is,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.
Novak said she thinks the county should respectfully bow out.
County clerk Tina Spencer reminded commissioners that a transfer station and weed department storage at the location are no longer on the table.
The matter of the Straub building has stretched out over four months.
County officials, when initially seeking in December to buy the building for $325,000, planned to use the building for a shop, offices, and records storage, and add an outdoor sign, three fuel pumps, truck parking area, and a small storage building. Commissioners added a solid waste transfer station and storage for hazardous chemicals to the plan, but those were removed in February after surrounding residents protested.
A citizen petition opposing the plan led to city council’s decision to refer it back to planning and zoning.
The planning group sent it back for council approval with stipulations to include an agreement on utility upgrades and a compliance review after 18 months. If conditions are found not to be met, the CUP would be voided and the property would go back onto the tax rolls.