Greenfield Council talks water connections, watershed

The Greenfield City Council, at its June 17 meeting, revisited an issue regarding water and sewer connections at the North America Mall and adjacent Holiday Station property on Highway 55.

A conditional use permit granted in 2011 delayed this prospect for property owner Joe Francis for three years, and he attended the council’s June 3 meeting to plead his case for extending the hookup date beyond the permit’s time frame. Francis, present at June 17 meeting, offered a condensed version of concerns he’d previously expressed, including the impact this would have on his tenants in the mall and uncertainties regarding the placement of a frontage road.

Greenfield Mayor Brad Johnson relayed answers to some of the questions Francis posed at the earlier meeting regarding other properties in the hookup area and the potential need for a lift station.

It was noted that the city’s attorney advised the council to take action regarding compliance with the timeline of the permit, including connecting the properties in question to the systems in 2014.

After some discussion, the council voted unanimously to enforce the requirements of the permit and to call for connections for these properties.


Representing the Three River Parks District, Director of Planning Kelly Grissman spoke about a prospective sale between a Greenfield resident and the park district for a 2.68 parcel that abuts the Lake Sarah Regional Park and falls into the master plan for the park. In moving forward with the sale, Grissman asked the city to approve a resolution supporting the sale.

This is an issue the council is familiar with, having had similar sales occur in the past with property slotted for park and reserve expansions, and this is not one the city looks favorably on due to the loss of tax revenue and the city’s inability to say “no” to this kind of a sale. Council members, collectively, gave Grissman a list of stipulations they would like presented to the district for consideration before formally showing support in the form of a resolution. Grissman promised to relay the information to the district board.


Councilor Tom Cook presented a proposed budget for the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed District, including the city’s financial commitment for 2015. Because approval is needed by the end of June and the council was not meeting again this month, he recommended that approval be considered at this meeting. A workshop on watershed issues is planned for July – too late to effect the action Cook was looking for.

Cook told the council that the overall budget for 2015 was showing a minor increase and that Greenfield’s financial commitment would decrease from $37,197 to $35,551.

Councilor Mark Holton asked Cook if approval of the budget by the council would obligate it financially. Cook stated that was the case.

A lengthy discussion ensued in which Councilors Cook and Chuck Alcon went back and forth over two central opposing points.

Alcon said that he did not think that the watershed was a viable vehicle in its present form for implementing the kind of water condition improvements that were being proposed. He added that he did not believe the watershed commission had the infrastructure to perform the projects it is proposing, and that what’s been done to date has been ineffectual and inefficient. He told the council that he doesn’t want to support the watershed with any additional funding and would like to consider alternatives including moving away from the current structure and joining a larger district.

Cook, who serves as the watershed’s commission chair, acknowledged Alcon’s frustrations but countered that being involved with the watershed offered the city the most influence over a number of things, and that leaving the joint powers agreement may put the city under a larger umbrella with less representation or control, both financially and project based.

Holton said that since he’s been on the council he’s been aware of its efforts to make conservative and prudent financial decisions and that, in his opinion, not approving the budget without a clear alternative would be deterring from that course. He made a motion to approve Greenfield’s portion of the 2015 Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed budget at $33,551. The motion carried 3-2 with Johnson, Cook and Holton supporting it, Alcon and Councilor Mike Erickson opposing.

In other news, the council accepted the resignation of Greenfield Park Advisory member Julie Vergin and will advertise to fill the post.

And, weather permitting, the meeting hall on Townhall Drive will receive a new coat of paint.

The council has also approved an expenditure of $4,000 to officially update city maps due to inconsistencies among those now in circulation.

The next regular meeting of the Greenfield City Council is 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at 6390 Townhall Drive.