The saga of Sunnyside Heights has reached the end of the road. McMinnville officials have adopted it as a city street.
Consideration for adopting the pothole-ridden street in order to improve its condition began in October. Since that time, records indicate the street was relocated in the late 1980s at the request of Shoney’s Inn developers who obtained permission from all affected property owners and agreed to construct the street to the city’s specification for its later adoption. However, when it came time to give the right of way property along the new street to the city of McMinnville and pave the way for adoption, two property owners refused.
Three decades later, the portion of the street located on private property has been allowed to deteriorate. All property owners are now willing to sign a dedication of right of way and allow the city to adopt the road, if they adopt it as-is and do not require upgrades which, by current city code, is required before a road will be adopted.
The measure passed 5-2. Mayor Jimmy Haley and Aldermen Mike Neal, Ryle Chastain, Everett Brock and Steve Harvey voted in favor of adopting the street and making the necessary upgrades. Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Alderman Jimmy Bonner voted against it.
Bonner objected to the street being adopted without property owners paying anything to help up-grade the street.
“Is the city going to foot the whole bill on this? Are they not going to bring it up to code before we take it over?” asked Bonner.
When Haley said they would not, Bonner added, “This is going to cost a lot of money. If they really wanted to get it done and get it out of the way, I think they should put in on it.”
Newman says he is not satisfied the street was originally owned by the city.
“I think if it had ever been dedicated as a public road and the city had accepted it, I think we would have an obligation to do it. I just don’t think it was ever a public road that the city took over. I don’t really want to take it on as another city street. That’s my opinion on it,” Newman said.
Adopting the street will end a three-decade long issue. Harvey says he’s in favor of that.
“Regardless of what your thoughts are or which side you fall on, whether it was a city street or whether it wasn’t, this is an unusual situation with about five different property owners that’s been going on for a long, long time. I don’t think it’s ever going to change unless we do something about it.”
The street is right in the middle of McMinnville, said Harvey, and that sets a bad image for the city.
“People come in from out of town and they stay at that hotel and they turn right out of the parking lot and they drive down that road and think what a bad city we are because we don’t fix our streets. That may not be true but that’s the perception. People who live in this town think it’s ours. It may not be true but that’s the perception. Sometimes perception is reality. That is enough reason for us to solve this problem once and for all. It’s unusual and it’s been going on for a long time.”
Brock says he was against adoption when the measure was first brought up for consideration but now he is in favor of it.
“The road was paved at one time,” Brock said. “It was brought up to city code at one time. Then, we never took it. So, the fact it was brought up to code and then it fell off the end of the earth really doesn’t make a lot of difference in my mind. If it was brought up to code at one time, regardless of what has happened since then, I think we need to take it over.”
The measure was a resolution meaning only one read was required. The measure passed Tuesday night.