Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a letter sent to North Bend Mayor Ken Hearing and members of the North Bend City Council.)
I am John Wilkins, one of the owners of the Tift Haus Restaurant along with Judy and Bill Klingel and Judy Rogers. We were very disappointed that the North Bend Council recommended that only five feet of the unused right of way be vacated and sold to us. In further negotiations with our potential buyers, they decided that with only five additional feet they would not own the sign or the parking in front of the building so they withdrew their offer. Because of this Judy and Bill won’t be able to retire anytime soon, and I am sure the same problem will come up with any other potential buyers.
One of the things I couldn’t understand about the council’s position was their feeling that it was a windfall to the property owners. If we are allowed to buy this strip of land we will be paying full market value for the property as determined by a city-approved appraiser hired at our expense. This is property the city has no use for now or in the future as this right of way ends at our east property line. It would seem that instead of being a windfall for the property owners, it is a windfall for the city. They would be getting full fair market value for a piece of property they didn’t even know they owned and have no use for and they will have the property added to the property tax rolls, which will increase tax revenues for the city. In addition, the Tift Haus stands a better chance of being sold to someone who would improve the structure and business, which should increase sales that will also provide the city with additional sales tax and city tax revenue.
To include the sign and parking it would take about 36 to 37 feet of the right of way, which would be the minimum that we need to purchase. The city would still have a strip of right of way from Sydney Street west that is 20 feet wide in addition to the 40 feet on each side of the centerline of the current road even if they vacated the full 40 feet, and it makes sense to keep the property line in front of the Tesoro station and the Tift Haus a straight line by selling us the full 40 feet.
With this letter we are asking the city council to reconsider their decision to sell us only 5 feet of right of way and to sell us the full 40 feet, or at the very least out to the south end of our sign structure.