Ruggles doesn’t let facts get in the way…
John Ruggles has never been one to let facts get in the way of his letters or Facebook posts. As such, I would like to provide some facts that are part of the public record. This is in regard to my neighbor, Greg Nickel, who sought the vacation of a public right of way in Wallace so that he could repair existing but deteriorating cribbing necessary for the stabilization of his house and yard and for which the City has not had to maintain.
In John’s letter, his primary premise is that an ordinance was passed by the Wallace City Council at the August 11th meeting. This is incorrect. To pass an ordinance, it must be read and voted on three times by the Council. That did not happen at the August meeting. The Council voted in favor of the vacation, at which time, according to procedure, it was sent to the City Attorney to draft the implementing ordinance.
Here’s a summary of the timeline: A public hearing on the street vacation application was held at the July City Council meeting. Following public input, the Council discussed and voted on whether or not they wanted to proceed with the vacation. The Council discussed it at the August meeting, decided to proceed with it, and sent the motion to the City Attorney to draft an ordinance. At the September meeting, the Council requested certain language modifications and the item was sent back to the City Attorney for modification. At the October City Council meeting, the ordinance was read three times and passed.
Every time John mentions a “First Ordinance” it should be disregarded because that never happened. The meeting minutes and audio recordings, which are public record, fully reflect that.
John must not have read the entire Ordinance that did in fact pass, because he would have noticed that it includes Dean Cooper and CooperKamp, LLC forfeiting the portions they were entitled to under Idaho Code in favor of Greg Nickel. The passed and adopted language is as follows:
“Gregory P. and Sandra L. Nickel, Shoshone County Parcel Number B0350018004A (Petitioner) who owns adjoining property to the South (B0350015001A) of the proposed public right-of-way to be vacated, along with the one-half (1/2) interest forfeited by Dean Cooper with respect to his interest in the North (B0350018004A) and CooperKamp, LLC interest in the adjoining property to the South (B0350016001A)”
John talks about financial benefit. There is no financial benefit to a property owner when a city grants a vacation of a right of way. The property owner gets property, not money. Their property taxes increase. They become solely responsible for maintenance and liability of the vacated land. Here, what is being vacated amounts to 80’ x 20’ strips of dirt (about .036 of an acre). Using the County’s value of hillside property, that amounts to about $155 for each adjacent property owner if they sold today.
John goes on to show his ignorance by failing to know or understand that “L.E.” is short for “Living Estate”, or “Life Estate.” It’s comical at best that he provides legal advice even though he is not, nor has he ever been, a lawyer. Dick Lilienkamp has his home and property in a living estate. This estate is titled “Marsha Lilienkamp L.E.” John finds the fact that the lawyer hired by Marsha to prepare her estate used “L.E.” instead of “and heirs” problematic. The idea that I somehow orchestrated that the lawyer use this nomenclature a decade ago, postulating that I’d someday have a new neighbor that wanted to fix some cribbing, and that that neighbor would ask the city to vacate a right of way, and I would coincidentally be on the Wallace City Council at the time, and I’d want to get a 80x20 strip of property, so I should use “L.E.” to hide the fact that my wife could someday inherit that 80x20 strip, and if I was still married, and both of my in-laws pass away, my 1/6 of that added inheritance would be worth about $25… it’s just insanity.
The street vacation doesn’t alter Ryder Gauteraux’s s access or land-lock him. Nothing adjacent to his property was vacated. His access is the same after the vacation as it was before.
The Wallace City Council has consulted with the City Attorney repeatedly on this topic. They have gotten feedback and legal guidance through every step of the process. John claims they “Suspended the Rules,”, but that simply is not true. What is true is the fact he didn’t understand that the first vote was to get an ordinance created that could possibly be passed later. This caused John to draw unfounded conclusions and accuse me of motivations that are false and make no sense.
At the end of the day, my neighbor wanted to fix a wall crucial to the stabilization of his house and yard. My neighbor realized the people that lived there prior to him had built the wall in the public right of way. Where a lot of people would have just fixed the wall and moved forward, they chose to ask for permission, to do it right. I supported my neighbor’s efforts and now I’m being vilified for it. Let’s hope John takes the time to re-read the minutes, see that an ordinance was never passed at the August meeting, acts like a decent person for a change, and apologizes for drawing wrong conclusions. What are the odds of that?