Minutes

SPECIAL TOWN MEETING MINUTES August 19, 2022

 

TOWN OF BENNETT & TOWN OF HAWTHORNE

SPECIAL TOWN MEETING MINUTES

August 19, 2022

 

PURPOSE: DISCUSS PERMANENT CLOSURE OF THE LINE ROAD AT THE RAILROAD CROSSING WEST OF COUNTY ROAD E TO 100 FEET WEST OF THE WCL WEST RIGHT-OF-WAY LINE AS REQUESTED BY THE OFFICE OF THE COMMISSION OF RAILROAD (OCR).

 

The Special Town Meeting was held at the Bennett Town Hall on Tuesday, August 19, 2022, at 6 p.m. Town Officers in attendance: Bennett--Barry Carlson, Chair, Wesley Koehler, and Timothy Haskins, Supervisors, and Tamara Johnson, Clerk. Hawthorne—Guy Clemmer, Supervisor.  There were also several residents from both towns in attendance.

 

Notices of the meeting with the agenda were posted at the Bennett Town Hall, Bennett Recycle Center, and the Bennett Town Website on May 31, 2022, and were published in the Superior Telegram on June 3, 2022, June 17, 2022, and June 20, 2022.

 

Chairman, Barry Carlson, opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance at 6 p.m.

 

Anna Davey, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, NW & NC Region Rail Coordinator, introduced herself and explained that OCR met with the boards from Bennett and Hawthorne and looked at both the Bennett Road and the Line Road Crossings.  They requested closing one of the crossings. If the town boards voluntarily close the crossing the railroad will make an offer based on the estimates it receives from both towns for the cost of the closing. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will match the offer up to $30,000, which will be split between Bennett and Hawthorne.  The $30,000 from the DOT is required to be used for transportation safety.  If the town boards do not decide to close a crossing the OCR will decide if they will force the closure and then the towns will not receive any funding for the closure.   At the May 24, 2022, the town board of Bennett determined that they would pursue the closure of the Line Road crossing so that the funds would be provided for the closing. Anna also stated that OCR is looking at putting lights and arms on the Bennett Road crossing if the Line Road is closed but that wouldn’t be until at least 2025.

 

Anna Davey also fielded questions from the residents in attendance regarding crossing arms, lights, stop signs, increased traffic on other roads, upgrading the other roads that will now get more traffic.  There were many serious concerns regarding access to property especially in the spring and for emergency vehicles.

 

Sue Ahlberg stated that the closure would block access to her field.  Anna suggested that the board include an estimate to put in an access driveway with a culvert.

 

Anna stated that the town and the railroad should be keeping the vision triangles clear.  She felt that if the town voted no on the closing and was keeping the vision triangle clear it could go to their benefit if OCR looks at forcing closure. The road crew stated that the railroad does not allow them to brush the vision triangle.  Anna will email CN that the vision triangle needs to be brushed.  She said that the town has the right to access the property to brush.

 

Several residents of Hawthorne and Bennett stated that they were opposed to closing the road and especially opposed if the Town Hall Road, Klang Road and Bennett Roads are not improved to handle more traffic.

 

The consensus of the board members was they would get estimates to improve Town Line Road (Hawthorne) and Bennett and Klang Roads (Bennett) including considering black top.  Anna suggested that they also request a Hydrology Study if necessary. Once the estimates have been submitted to the railroad and the towns receive an offer back from the railroad, the town boards will hold board meetings to determine if they will accept the offer and pursue closing the Line Road.

 

Anna suggested that if the railroad requests permission to expand in the future, the towns should request that they install lights and crossing arms at that time.  She will help the town if that comes up.

 

ADJOURNMENT: Being there was no further business Wes moved to adjourn at 8:30 p.m.  Seconded by Tim. Motion Carried.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Tamara Johnson, Clerk

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