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Wellsville will pay for title to land in Mt. Sterling subdivision

February 3rd, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Noelle Johansen

WELLSVILLE–The Wellsville City Council conceded to pay $1,200 for the title claim to open space near the mouth of Sardine Canyon Wednesday night.

Thirty-five acres of land in Mt. Sterling Estates subdivision has been the subject of ongoing lawsuits for years, since Sherwin Seamons signed the deed over to Stephen Brandley, City Attorney Bruce Jorgensen said. After filing a lien against Seamons’s home, which was voided in court, Brandley faced $4,200 in attorney’s fees and expenses to Seamons. Brandley’s title company and a third party agreed to pay $3,000 of the cost. Brandley offered the land to the city for the remaining $1,200, because the lawsuits have depleted his personal funds, Jorgensen said.

“There were lots of promises and then there were lawsuits,” Jorgensen said. He said the city has been seeking the title to the land for more than 10 years. Jorgensen said he told Brandley the city would not consider the offer without the title claim in the city’s name as part of the agreement. The lawsuit has been long and complex, Jorgensen said.
“If you’re not there and involved, you just don’t know the details,” Jorgensen said. “Twelve hundred dollars is a bargain, I’m sorry to say.”

The vote to pay $1,200 to Brandley in return for the title claim was unanimous.

“Sometimes you just have to bite the bull and do what you have to do and get it done and move on,” Councilman Jackie Orton said.

Councilman Ron Case said he felt like they were paying the person who was the source of the original problem. “It’s one of those situations that sticks in your craw,” Case said.

A separate plot of land, adjacent to the Wellsville city boundary, may one day be home to a “medieval living history site.” Montana native Steve Simmons addressed the city council via e-mail about the location of his proposed project. Simmons wrote that the “Somerville Manor” would employ 15-20 full-time staff members, support 20-30 part-time summer jobs, and bring more than 100,000 new visitors to the Wellsville area every year. Simmons wrote to discuss the benefits of building the manor within city boundaries rather than under the county jurisdiction.

“I think it’s something worth exploring at this point,” Case said. “If we did it, people would come from all over the state. It could really change the complexion of Wellsville.”

Mayor Thomas Bailey asked Orson to contact Simmons for further details about the future of the project.

In other business, the council:

— discussed, at length, various medical insurance details and plans and details for city employees but made no formal decisions or changes. “Everything is subject to what the rates do in April,” said Ryan Hatch of Utah Local Governments Trust.

— talked about possible themes for the upcoming Founder’s Day celebration. “How about ‘Home of the Medieval Castle’,” Case said.


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