Posted 3 weeks ago
By John Axtell
As part of a marathon session Monday night that lasted more than 4-1/2 hours, the Chadron City Council approved an ordinance creating a paving district to extend Ash Street north of Highway 20 about 700-feet.
Ash Street is Highway 385 south of Highway 20, but a northern extension as a city street on the west edge of Big Bat’s Shell has long been in the plat for the that part of the city.
The street was requested by the property owners on the west side…Taco John’s, Security First Bank, and developer Eddie Beuttner…and generally opposed by Big Bat’s former owners…Bat and Patty Pourier…and its current owners, who include the Pourier’s sons Tye and Corey. The Big Bat’s group questioned why the proposed street extended back only 710-feet instead of more than twice that to the railroad, cutting off at a point where the west side owners had the majority share of the frontage needed to move forward with the project. Bat Pourier said he was in the process of buying the lots directly behind the truck stop and wanted the street extended to include that land.
They also challenged the preliminary design for the street, including an island at the intersection “requested” by the state road department, and standard curbs that would make it difficult for large trucks…a key part of their business…to enter and reach their diesel pumps. They said the layout would likely force them to move the pumps and storage tanks at a cost of a half-million dollars.
The discussion included occasionally emotional bickering between the senior Pouriers and city staff over issues that included engineering and a proposal suggested by City Manager Wayne Anderson for a traffic circle or roundabout at the intersection.At the end, the council approved the district with both sides agreeing to meet to try to work out compromises that would be considered at the March 17th public hearing on the paving district. The proposal could still be killed at that point by the owners of a simple majority of the property fronting the proposed street.