The Waverly City Council approved both the preliminary and final plats on Monday to resubdivide the former Schneider Milling property at 3601 E. Bremer Ave. from two lots to three.
Nutrien Ag Solutions Inc. will keep Lots 2 and 3 of the property, while Lot 1 will be sold to a business that operates the mill. However, some of the discussion got into the inner workings of platting.
Ward 3 Councilman Rod Drenkow posed the question why the council considered both back-to-back.
Economic Development Director and City Attorney Bill Werger said doing both measures consecutively can be done as the council did on Monday, though he thought having both in one motion was preferable.
“It was already done through P&Z (Planning and Zoning Commission) that way, it was just fine to bring it back that way,” Werger said. “There is no change from the preliminary to the final. They really are the same thing.”
Drenkow later asked the definitions between preliminary and final plats. Werger said preliminary plats have more basic information without much specificity.
“What really happened here is we spent a lot of time working with two companies to identify how this was going to look and where the lines were going to be,” Werger said. “We could’ve brought a preliminary plat through the P&Z and the council.
“That’s sometimes what happens with multi-lot residential subdivisions that are large in scope, so you’re bringing the concept first instead of bringing the actual specified, every-line-drawn in a final version, because there could be some feedback with access roads or shapes, sizes, waterways, those types of things that you really want to get a judgment from the body that’s going to be reviewing, either the P&Z or the council.”
However, Werger said the platting of the Nutrien site was “really simple and straightforward” that they wanted to create two lots for two separate companies.
Drenkow asked it was necessary to have preliminary and final plats. Werger said it’s spelled out in the subdivision code to have both.
“I’ve seen it happen, and a lot of times it does happen, that you’d do a preliminary and final combined plat and enjoin those two together,” Werger said. “It’s fine to do it this way, because you’re doing a preliminary plat and then turning around and saying, ‘We’re not changing anything, let’s not have the same discussion the second time.’”
At-Large Councilwoman Ann Rathe wondered why Nutrien is keeping two and selling the third to Standard Nutrition. Werger said two of the lots were originally combined by a lot agreement that stated that neither could be sold separately when Schneider Milling owned the property.
When Nutrien took over, Werger said it utilized the entire developed portion — the redivided Lots 1 and 2 — as a combined operation.
“Nutrien is going to separate two operations on the grounds,” Werger explained. “Lot 1 is the milling operation, and Lot 2 is the mixing, making the feed operations. They’re actually going to be owned by two different companies.
“The separation is being done to allow the two companies to do their own thing on their lots.”
Looking at the platting document, there is a curved line that separates Lots 1 and 2. Werger said it had to be drawn that way because Schneider developed the property to not divide the milling from the feed mixing, so Nutrien had to figure out where to establish where each entity ends and the other begins but in a cooperative way.
Lot 3 is currently undeveloped and will remain as such, Werger said. While Lots 1 and 2 have a shared driveway that leads to East Bremer Avenue, the third lot will have access to 39th Street Northeast.
He added that Lot 3 could be subdivided further upon development or kept as a single lot.
“It allows the two companies to move forward with their separate operations and allows Lot 3 to be available for further development,” Werger said.
There will also be a sanitary sewer line that will be running along East Bremer Avenue, of which the council earlier awarded a contract to Boomerang Corp, of Anamosa, for a bid of $183,143. The pipes will extend the services all the way across 39th Street to where Titan Machinery will be locating its new dealership.
“One of the properties that is going to be benefitted is Titan right away,” Werger said, “but those two lots that are undeveloped (to the southeast of the Nutrien site) could be connected to the sewer now. Actually, Lot 2, I’m not sure, has its own sewer connection, so they’ll have a sewer connection to them. Lot 3 would have a sewer connection on the upper side on the far northwest corner. They can either have some development on that side that would have access to that sewer, or they could access across 39th.”
Currently, Nutrien owns the entire property, but they will sell off Lot 1 to Standard.
Also, for Lot 3, Werger anticipates that it would simply have a 66-foot-wide driveway rather than a city street for access.
Ward 1 Councilman Brian Birgen asked about Nutrien and Standard sharing the driveway that leads to Bremer. Peter Allen, division manager with Nutrien, said that the two companies have an easement since Day One between the two companies.
“It was a contractual easement, actually before we closed on the property,” Allen said. “It’s written in the purchase agreement as well.”
Brad Knudson with Standard added that Nutrien’s parent company has done business with his company for “many, many years.”
“We’ve got a relationship,” Knudson said. “That’s the reason they brought us in, and afterwards, we have a strong relationship to work together, and we plan to.”
Birgen is not concerned about the present day.
“I’m worried about 20 years, when different companies take over,” Birgen said.
“We plan to be involved at that time,” Knudson said reassuringly.
“Twenty years, if the stock market holds…” Allen added with a gesture that elicited laughter from the dais.
After approving the preliminary plat unanimously, and as attention shifted to the final plat, Drenkow joked: “So, Bill, can you explain the differences to me between a preliminary plat…”
“Didn’t I tell you we weren’t going to repeat this conversation?” Werger replied amidst the laughter.
“Just cut and paste those notes Carla,” Bronner added, talking to City Clerk Carla Guyer.