Rabbitt property discussion continues

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Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 4:26 pm

Jeff Rabbitt, owner of Rabbitt Family Vision, was back before the North Sioux City City Council, Nov. 4, for the third time to discuss the easement and contracted use of his property during this year’s flooding and levee repair. At the prior meeting, Oct. 21, the terms “like” condition and “substantially like” condition had been discussed and they were discussed again at this meeting.

Rabbitt asked North Sioux City City Attorney Darrell Jesse what the term “substantially like” meant. Jesse responded that is based on what existed before compared to now, that it’s a factual question that would have to be determined by a judge or jury.

Council member Dan Parks asked Rabbitt whether he was still wanting the grass area. Rabbitt said he brought it as a suggestion instead of the city paying $60,000 for a parking lot.

“Because the grass area is going to be less expensive than the parking lot to continue around the building,” Rabbitt said. “Taking out the asphalt that’s there and replacing it with rock... these were all things that we’ve talked about. I’m in agreement with you guys as far as making that area nicer looking with grass.”

Rabbitt stated that this began with an easement for the sidewalk along Military Road.

“I really like doing things the honorable way – shake hands, this is the way we need to go going forward,” Rabbitt said. “This whole process [being before the council] is a little disheartening, because I went through on good faith, basically being promised that this [the parking lot] was going to be put back the way it was and that’s the way it was.”

“But Jeff, you have to admit, this parking lot was absolutely broken,” Mayor Randy Fredericksen said.

“You just had a conversation that you didn’t have a problem driving across it to put pumps down,” Rabbitt responded. “It was a hard surface, that grass didn’t grow through. I’m not admitting to anything. What I’m saying is, it was a parking lot. If we’re not going to come to an agreement, turn it back into a parking lot. It will cost you substantially more to do it that way.”

“My feeling on this is, if we put it back to the way it was, we could put three-inch rock in there,” Fredericksen said. “Three-inch rock is what you had there.”

After a few more exchanges, Rabbitt told Fredericksen that he wasn’t going to sit there and argue with him over whether it was a hard surface that water ran off of or water was able to seep through into the ground.

See full story in this week’s Dakota Dunes / North Sioux City Times.