Holland doctor offers city $5K to buy vacant lot for DIY drainage fix – HollandSentinel.com

August 14, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

A Holland doctor has an unusual proposal for city officials: sell him a strip of land for $5,000 so he can build his own drainage system into it.

Dr. Peter Vance has a problem: his basement — as well as his neighbor’s garage — fill with water whenever there is a large rain.

Water runs down Plasman Avenue, across 29th Street where Plasman dead-ends and into Vance’s and his neighbor’s property, Vance said.

To the east of Vance and his neighbor is a 22,088 square-foot lot at 595 W. 29th St. owned by the city. It’s been retained by the city, in case Plasman ever needed to be extended across 29th Street to the north. But with the construction of Holland West, that extension of Plasman is now unlikely, officials said.

Vance is now offering the city $5,000 to buy that plot — noting his wife wouldn’t let him pay a penny more.

During a Wednesday, Aug. 10, study session of the Holland City Council, City Manager Ryan Cotton presented the issue to the mayor and council.

Cotton said it’s unlikely the city would need the land as a right-of-way, but said it provides a drainage function for Plasman Avenue.

The city assessor estimated that the property would be worth more than the $5,000 offer made by Vance — more to the tune of $7,300. Cotton said he would like any legal expenses associated with the sale and transfer to be covered by the buyer as well.

Vance has already engineered a drainage system to attempt to deal with the water, he said Wednesday at the meeting.

Between his property and his neighbor’s property, he has dug a long trench — but over time, the system has become less effective.

The next step is engineering a drainage system that would route the water away from the two homes and onto the land at 595 W. 29th — but first, Vance said he needs to own the property.

There are no storm sewers in the neighborhood.

“We have a space that belongs to the city and I’m assuming we’re mowing the grass and we’re doing nothing else and it’s absorbing water to some degree and it’s causing a hardship on some of the neighbors,” said Councilmember Dave Hoekstra. “And we have gentlemen willing to take over that space to create a responsible way of managing water and probably filtering out some crap. But we have this price difference. I would like to suggest, if we could cut this guy some slack on the purchase price, given what he’s willing to do and what the future outcomes would be.”

Page 2 of 2 – Hoekstra followed his comments by saying to Vance, “This is government — no promises.”

Most on council appeared to agree $5,000 was a reasonable sale offer, given the circumstances — but whether the city would legally be able to sell the property for that amount is still in question, Mayor Nancy DeBoer said.

“Yes, it’s the city’s property right now, but is the city causing the problem?” Mayor Pro Tem Myron Trethewey said. “The way I see it, (the land) has never been developed as its intended use — a street.”

City officials have been discussing the sale offer for several months, as documents show Vance initially approached the city about the sale as early as January of this year. Council instructed city staff to review the impact of selling the property again before considering the offer.

— Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelAmy.