Posted at: 10/23/2013 10:49 PM
By: John Doetkott
Kasson Development Controversy Continues
(ABC 6 News ) -- On Wednesday night, Kasson City Hall was packed once again with residents upset about a proposed retail development project in Lion’s Park that many say will hurt local businesses.
It was the first official meeting since last week's planning and zoning meeting in which residents were denied the chance to discuss the project, leaving many angry and frustrated.
But when the council opened the floor to public comment on Wednesday night, no one said anything, with several residents saying afterwards they feel as though the councilors' minds are already made up.
“Seeing this room full they ought to know that we don't want this to happen,” said Jason Farnsworth, a Kasson resident. “If they can't work with us, then what are we to do? We really can't do anything."
Later in the meeting, the council did agree in principal to a land swap which will add roughly 17 acres of now private land to the existing Lion’s Park.
City councilors said they have been trying to acquire the land for some time and will use it for flood mitigation projects, but some residents said they're not buying it.
“A bunch of B.S. if you ask me,” Farnsworth said. “They're trying to get this land in order to sell Lion’s Park and what they're doing is wrong."
“They're supposed to represent the citizens of the city, not just an interest here or there,” said fellow Kasson resident Rich Miller. “Give all the facts, not just partial, and just be honest with the people, and that's all we're asking for."
While the city did not move forward with anything directly related to the proposed project, opponents say they're not backing down, no matter how long it takes.
“We're not going away,” Farnsworth said. “We're not going away. We'll fight it until the end."
City councilors could not finalize the land swap agreement until a certificate of survey is prepared, but city leaders expect to have that ready by the council’s next meeting in November.