Council amends airport sale after leaseholder negotiation
By Tara Nelson
Plans for the airport redevelopment are once again moving ahead after stumbling block involving a minor land-use dispute with a current leaseholder.
After an hour-long closed session Monday, Blaine City Council voted 5-1 to amend a purchase sale agreement with Gateway, LLC, a joint venture between TC Trading owner Tom Hayes and Blaine dentist Patrick Rooney, to exclude a small parcel of land currently leased by Yorky’s gas station owner Barney Yorkston.
Council member Scott Dodd voted no on the amendment without comment and council member Jason Overstreet was excused.
Blaine city manager Gary Tomsic said the city will remove an approximate one-acre triangle parcel from the purchase sale agreement with Gateway after Yorkston exercised his “first right of refusal,” a legal clause that allows leaseholders to buy the property if it is ever sold.
Although financial details of the sale have not been made public, Tomsic said the city will be legally required to make available for sale the approximately 55,000-square foot parcel leased by Yorkston at the same price offered by Gateway, LLC – about $4.10 per square foot.
The question remains, however, of whether a 19-foot wide strip of land the city has historically granted for Yorkston as an easement will also be subject to that purchase price, Tomsic said.
That portion of land runs alongside SR 543 from the corner of Boblett Street to H Street and is currently used by tractor-trailer drivers who need to turn their vehicles around to park in the truck parking area.
“That’s where we are not in agreement,” Tomsic said. “We don’t question their right to purchase the triangle, but we’re not sure they have the right under their first right of refusal to purchase that strip of land.”
The council also decided the city would be obligated to purchase the Pipeline hangar near Skallman Park as well as to make certain improvements to the airport property with regards to fueling systems and navigational aids.
Tomsic said the city’s plan will be to move the hangar to nearby public works property and reassemble it to use for equipment storage.
Gateway, LLC has submitted a binding site plan application that calls for mixed-use residential and commercial use of the north portion of the airport property and light industrial and manufacturing uses in the south portion.
The plan also proposes an extension of Boblett Street through to SR 543 as well as a southbound extension of Grant Street with a new roundabout intersection.
After the city reviews the plan, it will be submitted to the planning commission where it will be open to public comment.