Council votes to abandon alley

Published 10:13 am Friday, October 13, 2017

On Tuesday, the LaGrange City Council voted unanimously to abandon the alley between Broome and Margarite Street.

The alley has not been used by the city in years, and it currently has a tree growing in the middle of it. In addition to the usual measures of placing signage on the property and advertising the decision, the council also asked that city staff notify the residents of that block by mail and by phone.

“We did reach out and talk to all but one property owner, and we did leave a message with that property owner,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said.

The property owners will have the opportunity to file a quick claim to the property in order to claim five feet of the 10-foot-wide strip of alley that is closest to their property.

One of the residents of the block expressed concern in the meeting that her property tax would go up if she accepted the property, and she was assured that only residents who file for the quick claim deed would receive the additional property.

It was unclear in the meeting what would become of unclaimed property since property owners can only file a claim for the half of the alley closest to their property and some property owners may not want the additional property.

Some of the residents of the block already have plans for the property, including Dr. Gary Solt who initially filed the request that the city abandon the property.

“I didn’t know there was an alley there until about three months ago when we surveyed the property,” Solt said.

“I thought that drive was my drive, but that is the alley.”

Solt had been hopeful that he would be able to obtain rights to the full alley, but the city’s standard practice is to divide property that can be obtained through a quick claim deed evenly between land owners when abandoning a property.

Because of the policy, property owners wishing to obtain rights to the full alley would need to enter a private agreement with the property owner on the other side of the alley.

The LaGrange City Council is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.