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Lowe's stopped on strip
A strip of land along 100th and 200th is center of debate and negotiations
By Dennis Box
The Lowe's home improvement store development has run into another roadblock with the Brookwater Homeowners' Association.
Some of the residents of the association voted on two issues at an Aug. 21 meeting at Mountain View Middle School cafeteria.
The two issues voted on were:
1. Given the current situation and plans, should the Brookwater Homeowners Association sell a portion of Tract M to Lowe's for development? (The association would need a 67 percent yes vote to sell the property according to the covenants, conditions and restrictions.)
2. Should the Brookwater Homeowners Association members pay a one-time special assessment of $100 per lot to be used to pay for the initial retainer of an attorney to represent the association's interest regarding to Tract M? (The board of directors is authorized to charge this special assessment if 51 percent of people do not vote no.)
Lowe's is planning to build a store across from Albertson's on South Prairie Road. The home improvement store intends to build a roundabout at the intersection of 100th Street Court East and 200th Avenue Court East.
To build the roundabout Lowe's would need to purchase a piece of Tract M, a strip of land running down 100 Street Court East and part way down 200th Avenue Court East.
The association owns tract M. The land has become a contentious issue between Lowe's, the association and between the neighbors living on the property where the store would be built, known as area 41.
According to the Brookwater Homeowners Web site, issue No. 1 failed with 19 “yes” votes and 39 “no.” No. 2 also failed with 17 “yes” votes to 41 “no.”
The association reports there are 86 members and 58 yes votes would be needed for the first issue to pass and for the second issue 44.
“This type of vote is similar to a school initiative,” said Tom Kennedy, a Brookwater homeowner and former board president. “It failed, but it doesn't mean it is closed. My perspective is there will be more yes votes if Lowe's is able to communicate with the members. They need to do a better job of disseminating information to get more yes votes.”
Steve Gale, describing himself as director of real estate for Lowe's, sent a letter to association members signed.
In the first paragraph the letter stated, “It has come to our attention that your association has asked for a vote on the proposed Lowe's project in your neighborhood. Lowe's has not been given the opportunity to make a proposal to your association so by way of this letter we make the following proposal asking for your approval of the Lowe's development plan.”
The letter goes on to state, “Lowe's is prepared to acquire a portion of tract M; only that which is necessary for the construction of the round-a-bout. We are offering to pay the Brookwater HOA $100,000 for a portion of this tract of land which is approximately 12,000 square feet of land area.”
Gale said in the letter a traffic study by Lowe's consultants, Kittleson and Associates, stated the roundabout will relieve congestion at the intersection.
According to the city officials, the completed traffic study has not been submitted to the city.
The letter was sent to members Aug. 12.
Laurie Martin, an association member, said at the homeowners' meeting the board “presented the issues very well and did not take a side. People think our meeting was about keeping Lowe's out, that's not what it was about.”
Martin said there are some members who do not want Lowe's, but “many say Lowe's can come in, but not the roundabout. A lot of us are saying use the right of way going in front of Spa City. It's heated, but I would like to see everyone work together.”
City officials informed Lowe's in July that building permits will not be issued until the company has purchased or gained permission to use the land for the roundabout.