Council says yes to new apartments

MICHELLE BERRY The Borger City Council has signed off on legal documents that will help the construction of a new apartment building move forward.During its regular meeting Tuesday, the council acted on legal documents between the Borger Tenth Street Apartments and the City of Borger pertaining to the 900 block of Brain Street. These documents include the full release of an easement in essence and a parking covenant agreement and reservation, along with the grant of an easement.Eddie Edwards, Borger City Manager, said that back in December of 2004, the council approved an “Easement in Esse” (essence) to Wilhoit Properties, Inc. The document was filed with the Hutchinson County Clerk. It was not a specific document, but more or less gave use of the entire 900 block of Brain Street to Wilhoit Properties to allow for resident parking of the proposed new apartment complex. The warranty of the title remained with the city, but there was not any specific language to revoke the easement in essence if the intended use was discontinued.Also laid out in the agreement were plans for a 30 foot right of way from the city’s existing water line, but for no other purpose, Edwards said.Earlier this month, Kenneth Petr, Director of Planning and Zoning for the City of Borger, was contacted by Kathy Rieken of Wilhoit Properties, asking that the City of Borger approve a full release of Easement in Esse and a new Parking Covenant Agreement and Reservation and Grants of Easement.“The full release of Easement in Esse essentially releases, relinquishes, and discharges Wilhoit Properties of all their respective rights under the Easement in Esse,” Edwards said. “The proposed Parking Covenant Agreement and Reservation and Grants of Easement will be between the City of Borger and Borger Tenth Street Apartments as a limited partnership.”After reviewing the documents, he said there were several issues he felt needed addressing. The 30 foot easement reserved for the City of Borger’s existing water line does not take into account other utility uses or franchised utilities with existing facilities currently located outside of the 30-foot reservation, but well within the 68-foot Parking Covenant.Also, Edwards said that if utilities are no longer utilized, the utility easement is relinquished. He said since the agreement is only terminable under certain circumstances, he was uncomfortable with the wording.He modified the document to afford protection of the entire parking covenant for current and future utility use, as well as access for installation, maintenance, and/or removal of said utility facilities.With the sale and closing of the property an issue, Edwards said he was bringing this matter before the council in order to speed up the process. The city attorney and staff are reviewing the proposed agreement and hope to have a final document ready for the council before its next scheduled meeting.He said there are no direct costs or benefits from the agreement. However, after the apartments are completed, staff is estimating an increase of between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 to the ad valorem tax base.Edwards said construction on the new building should be starting this week.