Mille Lacs News
We need better
Larry E. Milton
Bill Hill Jr.
City Council Snubs Citizens
Mille Lacs News staff writer
There was tension in the air at the Onamia
City Hall on Wednesday, as a handful of citizens gathered to learn the fate
of the proposed 38 acre site of Mille Lacs Academy. a juvenile sex
offender facility. Would the Bradbury Township property be annexed into the
City of Onamia? There really was no question. We all knew the public hearing
was nothing but a formality. The City Council had already made up it's mind,
Mayor Larry Milton began the proceedings
at 5 o'clock. He tried to skip reading the annexation document, but one of
the citizens asked that it be read in full. Begrudgingly, the cantankerous
mayor mumbled his way through, making his contempt clear as people
strained to hear the words sliding greasily out of his mouth. He opened the
Maxine Gingery, Bradbury Township clerk
was the first to speak. She asked if the City of Onamia had any intention of
paying for the road which the township paved last year at a cost of $15,000.
Milton argued that Onamia had already fixed one of the gravel roads and
Bradbury never paid. Maxine was surprised, since this was the first she had
heard of it. "That's understandable," Milton said. Milton told Maxine that they could discuss this later.
Dave Barsody, President of the Onamia Area Citizens for
Responsible Growth began to take his turn addressing
the city council. "We have heard that Nexus..."
"THIS ISN'T ABOUT NEXUS!" shouted the mayor. "THIS IS
ABOUT ANNEXATION! YOU GOT SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT ANNEXATION? WE WON'T BE
Barsody calmly persisted. "Jim D'Angelo has
stated that if Nexus doesn't receive property tax exemption, they won't stay
in Mille Lacs County. What will happen to the property if Nexus decides to
Larry Milton said that if that happens, everything goes
back to the way it was. No purchase, no annexation, no rezoning. (In fact,
on the Bye purchase agreement, if the deal falls through for any reason,
according to contract the earnest money must be returned to the city, a
rather unusual condition. Normally the seller would keep the money if the
buyer pulls out.)
J.J. Swift stood up to face the city
council with a prepared statement which pointed out the mistakes of the
annexation document, which she said should be corrected before the flawed
annexation by ordinance was voted on.
According to Swift, there were several
errors, making the current document invalid.
Council fails to meet standard
guidelines as laid out by the League of Minnesota Cities'
There are clear
instructions for annexation, which the council did not follow. They just
made up their own, which was incomplete, lacking proper information.
Onamia has no current Comprehensive
In this day and age,
most towns, even the smallest, have city planning. Onamia does not. With a
grant from the Initiative Foundation, a group of citizens is receiving
training for the development of a creating a city plan. But the city
council isn't interested. (They have not attended even one meeting for
city planning). Once this institution is built, it cannot be unbuilt. But
Onamia officials are putting the needs of one business above the entire
future of the town.
Annexation does not follow Onamia's
Growth Management System for City of Onamia, MN
(1978) which is its most recent planning resource.
With the annexation and rezoning of the Grosslein/Bye property, the city
council is breaking it's own ordinances, rules that were created to
protect citizens from wrongful and abusive situations such as this.
The Petition for Annexation is invalid.
There is actually an
online downloadable form for this petition, which the council and
the Byes did not use, even as a model. They just made up their own. The
property was not listed on the petition, and on the supplementary sheet, a
typographical error listed a property which doesn't exist. The document
was not dated. Etc.
The Purchase Agreement is invalid.
There was no buyer's
name listed on the purchase agreement and no buyer's signature. An
Conflicts with land use compatibility
which violate Onamia City Ordinances.
According to the
ordinances, land use must fit in with an area. Industrial stays
industrial. Commercial is commercial. You can't put a hog farm downtown
main street, and you can't put a sex offender treatment facility in the
middle of an R1 single family residential neighborhood!
Proposed Spot Zoning.
According to law, you
can't zone a parcel of land just to attract a business or entice it to
stay in the area.
City Council Minutes indicate lack of
protocol, Open Meeting violations, and disregard for proper procedure.
The recorded Minutes
are incomplete, giving a scanty picture of what the council has been up
to. Decisions have been made without proper meetings, etc. The Open
Meeting Law has been violated. There has been what could be perceived as
"a lot of sneaking around" so that Larry can "slip another one through."
After Swift finished
with her request that the annexation be postponed until the procedure and
documents could be corrected, Curt Lukens took the floor to read an email,
sent to Swift by Minnesota State Representative Sondra Erickson, which
stated that Rep. Erickson hoped that the mayor and city council would
listen to our concerns.
Right after that, zoning
guy Mickey Carter turned to the city council and said that he thought that
the institution could be rezoned R2. A motion to accept the annexation was
made, and the vote to pass it was unanimous.
Although at the
beginning of the meeting, the council passed a motion to set the rezoning
public hearing for July 5, 2007, they went ahead with rezoning the
property R2 on the spot, later cancelling the rezoning meeting altogether.
Without a rezoning public hearing, this annexation is illegal.
But history indicates that any "public
hearing" is just a formality. The mayor and the city council have already
made up their minds, and what the people say is totally irrelevant.
Such is the method of government in Onamia.
No Annexation Without
Who actually owns the 38 acres?
You may be confused that the 38 acres is
sometimes referred to as "The Grosslein Property" and sometimes called "The
Bye Property". Here is the story about that:
Steve Bye was part owner of the homesteaded
farm, along with his parents, Clyde Bye and Grace Bye.
When Clyde Bye died, Steve and his mother
were co-owners. After Grace died, Steve was the owner. Steve is married to
Avis Grosslein is Steve's sister. She lives
in Massachusetts with her husband Marvin. According to Avis, Steve ran into
some financial problems (back in 2000) and she and her husband had to "bail
him out". She jokingly referred to her brother and his wife as "S & L -
Steve and Loretta; Savings and Loan"
Avis and Marvin Grosslein purchased the 38
acre hayfield to help out Steve and Loretta, who needed money.
As it stands now, Marvin D. Grosslein and
Avis Grosslein are listed as the owners. Stephen C. Bye is listed as the
We're still trying to sort this all out,
but when you read either Grosslein or Bye, know that it refers to the
same property on which Nexus intends to build it's sex offender
"...Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the Earth."
Sorry Mr. President. Unfortunately, it seems to have
perished from Onamia, MN.
We shop at
in St. Cloud
Worth the trip!
"While democracy must have its organizations and controls, its vital breath
is individual liberty."
Charles Evans Hughes
of individual happiness has passed.