The County Commissioners met at the Pine County Public Works Building in Sandstone, MN, on Tuesday, February 16, to hear the studies and conclusions and make a decision regarding Schmedeke Lane in Wilma Township.   Wilma Supervisors Glen Williamson, Gary Vink, and Michael McCullen were among those in attendance, plus Clerk Paul Raymond, and Wilma property owners Eldon Schmedeke, Bruce Greenly, and Barbara Jensen.

County Attorney John Carlson gave a presentation intended for the narrowing of the issues and proposing a solution to the issues regarding the road.  He had a diagram showing that Schmedeke Lane is not on the surveyed section line, even if it is exactly a mile from the Pete Anderson Road.   He said that Pine County built Schmedeke Lane and Wilma Township maintained it and formally adopted it as a township road.  Carlson said that the road was built on the only good land for a road, and if they had known then that this was Jensen’s land, they would have acquired the land then from the Jensens because of a drop-off to the east.

Carlson said that there are three choices:  1.  Don’t do anything for anyone, and leave the road as it is as a statutory use road, and everyone be damned, because Wilma Township did not do a survey when they adopted the road as a township road.    2.  Determine the number of acres Bob Jensen lost and give Bob County land in exchange for what he lost, or pay him the value of the lost acreage.  3. Have the road easement go all the way to the surveyed section line, and Wilma Township can sell Bruce Greenly this land since his land does not go all the way to the road.

In addition, Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke want to extend Schmedeke Lane the length of two 40 acre’s north, by 132’wide.  They have a camper on their land one half mile north.  Eldon paid to have the road extended and cleared it to 132’, believing this was his land.  He wants to buy 132’ of the first 40 and the next 40, 4 acres each, 8 acres, total $10,000 at current prices.   The county said they won’t sell unless they can keep their road easement so they can access their timber on county land.  In the future, Carlson said that Eldon’s kids will likely sell off the land north and east.  The road can’t be built on the section line due to a ridge obstruction.  For Eldon, getting to his land is a justified expenditure according to Carlson.

An alternative would be for the county to extend the road as a forest road and give Eldon a private easement, but this would not give Eldon a right for subdivision.   If the county builds the road to get to their timber, and it is good enough for a township road, Eldon would have to convince the town to adopt it as a township road.  Carlson said the best option would be to let Eldon buy the land for $10,000 so he can build his road.   The road he builds will be for public use as the only option for future development on Schmedeke’s land is for the road to be a public road.

Steve Hallan said they all want to do the right thing.  He said do the land swap with Jensens, and sell Eldon the two 132’ by 40 acre strips, but make sure that everyone has access to the public land to the west and can get to the tax-forfeited land.  Curt Rossow asked if the easement is granted, who will build the road?  The land department said that they will.  The easement will go to the section line all the way up.  The County Assessor’s office, with input from Robin Matthews, the County Surveyor, will calculate how much it is worth.  The current rate is $1,300 per acre.   Mike spoke up and said that he and Gary do not believe that the township should profit from this easement, and that the county should retain ownership and be the one to sell the land to the Greeley’s and Schmedekes; it’s taxpayers’ money. Rossow said it may require a special State legislative ruling to sell this to Eldon without open bidding.

A motion was made to sell Eldon Schmedeke two 40 acre by 132’ strips of land, and to sell Bruce Greenly all the land between Schmedeke Lane right-of-way to his section line, and to swap Bob Jensen some County land north of his land to compensate him for land he lost when Schmedeke Lane was built. This was seconded and passed.  Eldon asked that he be granted clear title to each of his 132’ x 40 acre pieces of land.

There was other County business and the meeting continued, but the Wilma Township officers left the meeting at this point.

Paul Raymond, Clerk, Town of Wilma