Members of the Plymouth Plan Commission continued a discussion of the city’s requirement to install sidewalks with new developments at their meeting earlier this month. 

The discussion was due to Langfeldts developing the lot south of their current storage lot in the 700 block of Oak Drive and their desire to not install sidewalks as required by the city’s public improvement standards.

Jim Langfeldt asked the commission for an exception until significant planning and communication can be delivered to them.  He said the sidewalk would be better on the east side of Oak Drive because it would be easier and has the biggest potential for pedestrian traffic with the majority of businesses on the east side of the street.  Langfeldt said the west side has topography and utility issues.

Local businessman and President of the Plymouth Plan Commission, Doug Feece said, “As everybody knows if they know me, I’m always a proponent of sidewalks.  I don’t think it’s our job to consider which side the sidewalks are supposed to go on, but my view is there’s a topography problem for both sides.  It is a real conundrum to even put sidewalks down Oak, but they are definitely needed.  I can attest to that.  I see people walk all the way out to Walmart.”

Feece asked the Plan Commission members to offer Langfeldts the same consideration the commission offered Beacon Credit Union in 2010. If the city decides to put sidewalks in on the west side of Oak Drive, at that time, the Langfeldts and the bank must step up and pay the cost for sidewalks on their property. 

Board member Fred Webster asked if the board goes with the recommendation, does the recommendation go with the property if the Langfeldts sell would the next owner be required to pay for the sidewalks in the future? 

Board member Paul Wendel brought up the coffee place that requested a variance on sidewalks on Jefferson Street at Columbus Drive.  He said we denied their request for an exception.  Paul said, “So now we are going to do a 180 and said it’s okay? What if they come back at the next meeting and say you let the storage units on Oak Drive slide on it?” 

Plan Consultant Ralph Booker said you must look at each project separately. 

City Attorney Sean Surrisi said the city is aware of the issues, but it is a balance of need and cost. 

Members of the Plymouth Plan Commission motioned and approved granting an exception of sidewalks at 777 Oak Drive with the understanding that if the city decides to do a sidewalk project they and Beacon must pay for the cost of sidewalks on their properties. The motion unanimously passed with an 8-0 vote.