A map showing the location of a proposed north-south route east of Prescott that will be added to the City Comprehensive Plan with a successful vote by the city council Monday, Jan. 23.Graphic courtesy of City of Prescott
Oak Grove residents oppose planned Prescott alternative route

Plan commission recommends adding road to Comprehensive Plan

PRESCOTT – After about an hour-long public hearing where nearby residents, most from Oak Grove Township, expressed opposition to a planned north-south alternative route, the Prescott Plan Commission recommended an amendment to the city’s Comprehensive Plan including the new road.

The Prescott City Council will act on the recommendation at its meeting Jan. 23.

The city’s original 20152035 Comprehensive Plan shows a north-south route from 570th Avenue north where Sea Wing Boulevard has been developed. However, developers of the Great Rivers Subdivision told the plan commission last spring that building the road there would hamper future development. The city’s engineering firm, Cedar Corp., pointed out also that the north-south route in that location would require a bridge 1,000 feet long to cross a large ravine, at a cost in excess of $11 million.

The city studied a couple options and has settled – for planning purposes – to map a road in the Comprehensive Plan further to the east at 1242nd Street. The road would connect with Highway 10. The road would not be built unless landowners in the area decide to develop their land.

“Nothing is set in stone at this point,” said Josh Miller of Cedar Corp.

He pointed out that while the property is in Oak Grove Township, the city can plan within 1.5 miles of its boundaries.

The cost of the new route was estimated by Cedar Corp. at $4.5 million. Miller stressed there are no plans for construction of the road at this time.

“This is not a proposal to build this road. This discussion has been going on since 2003. We could look another 20 years ahead and still be in the same position. This is a planning exercise,” he said. “We’re trying to find a route with the least resistance.”

While he was referring to terrain of that area that has several deep ravines, the proposal did find stiff opposition from several attending the meeting. No one spoke in favor of the route.

Steve Findlay asked if the road was going to connect to Highway 35 or just end at 570th.

“Is any junction down to 35 out of the question now? Where is the traffic hitting 570th going to go?” he asked.

Mayor Rob Daugherty confirmed that the road would end at 570th Avenue.

“We don’t have that in the scope right now,” he said of extending the alternative route to Highway 35. “The purpose of this is to go from 570th to Highway 10 so you don’t have to go through downtown, to alleviate some of the traffic going through downtown.”

Hamid Ahrar asked why 1200th Avenue, further east, wasn’t considered as the route.

“The street’s already there. It wouldn’t cost you a penny,” he said.

In earlier discussion, 1200th was ruled out because of its distance to the city limits.

Plan commission member David Hovel said there would be no heavy traffic when and if the road is developed. Its purpose would be to move residential traffic from new development in the area.

“It’s more of a local street,” he said.

Gavin Thorsrud said his home would be 40 feet from the road and his pole building would be 12 feet and pointed out that it would cut through an organically farmed field. He suggested more dialog with Oak Grove Township in planning a route.

“This route defies logic. It addresses a problem we don’t have,” he said. “What you need to do is sit down with the Oak Grove town council. They might have a better idea than this.”

Hovel again pointed out that the location of the road is just for planning purposes with development if further subdivisions are planned in that area.

“You have to plan a road at some point,” he said. “You have to plan. You can’t just put your head in the sand.”

Mike Kern suggested that the city should have met with affected property owners in advance.

“I guess as a property owner, it’s concerning to get that letter in the mail without being approached first, even if it’s planning,” he said.

Jim Boles, who serves on the Oak Grove Town Board, asked if the city will be picking up more cost of repairs needed on 570th Avenue if it’s going to get more traffic.

“We have updating that needs to be done. What is the City of Prescott willing to put toward it?” Boles asked.

City Administrator Matt Wolf answered, “That would have to be decided when it (the future road is built) happens.”

The land where the road is being proposed is owned by the Pechacek, Boles and Riley families. It was pointed out that if none of them develop their land, the road will never happen.

At the close of the hearing, Hovel made the motion to recommend the change to the Comprehensive Plan. Josh Gergen seconded the motion, and the commission vote to send it to the council was unanimous.

Steve Findlay of Oak Grove Township asked what would be done about heavier traffic on 570th Avenue if a proposed alternative north-south route between there and Highway 10 is developed. Photo courtesy of Prescott Community TV

January 10, 2023