Milford City Council Discusses Possibility Of City Buying Back The Former Smith Lumber Property

Tue 5-14-2019

(Milford)-- Whether or not the city should buy back the former Smith Lumber property was a major topic of discussion at Monday evening's Milford City Council meeting.

The city initially purchased the property after the lumberyard was dismantled, but later sold the land to the Milford Development Corporation for a possible affordable housing project and business development. It failed to materialize after opposition to the proposal surfaced, and the lot has remained vacant. The Corporation has now reportedly offered to sell the lot back to the city for $300,000. Councilman Chris Hinshaw advocated the city buying it back, saying it could be used for additional parking. Former Mayor Bill Reinsbach questioned why the city is even interested in it...Property Discussion01 

"They came to us and wanted to buy that property. They thought they could do a better job with it. Now that they could not get a business in there, they found out it's not easy, now all of a sudden they want to unload it back to the city."

Reinsbach argued the city has no obligation to provide parking to businesses, drawing this reaction from current Mayor Steve Anderson...Property Discussion02 

"And to say that we do not provide parking is absolutely wrong because in business commercial we do not require them to have parking, so where are they supposed to have parking?" Reinsbach: "It is not the city's obligation to provide parking." Anderson: "Then you tell me where, in business commercial, they're supposed to park because we do not require parking stalls."

Councilman Bill Huse said he feels the $300,000 the city would spend on buying back the property could be better used elsewhere...Property Discussion03 

"Look at these streets. How many times have we talked about this? We don't even have money to fix the streets for crying out loud and we're trying to buy back a piece of property?"

Councilman Andy Yungbluth made a motion to table the matter, saying he wants to review the city's comprehensive use plan before discussing it any further. Huse seconded the motion, which passed four-to-one with Hinshaw voting no.