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City council has special meeting on annexation request

The Worthington City Council on Wednesday hosted a special meeting to consider an annexation proposal.

Larry Potter, the former owner of Blue Line Travel Center/Truck Stop and the current owner of approximately 116 acres surrounding the truck stop, is asking that the city annex two properties in order to get the truck stop connected to city sewer and allow for future development of the area surrounding it. The subject properties are located along Minnesota 60, north of Interstate 90 and south of airport property. The total area proposed for annexation is approximately 125 acres and is part of the orderly annexation area with Lorain Township as designated by a 1972 agreement.

Both Potter and Brian Dreessen of Cooperative Energy Co., who purchased the Blue Line Travel Center, attended Wednesday’s meeting. Dreessen said his primary goal was to be able to access the city’s sanitary sewer and expressed the hope for collaboration on the matter.

City staff, however, pointed out Wednesday that there are numerous problems with the proposed annexation, and City Planner Matt Selof provided a list of six specific issues along with explanations as to why they make annexation difficult. Potter, though, noted that the location he proposed for annexation is a prime spot.

“If you want to develop the city, this is a really good place to start,” Potter said.

City councilwoman Amy Ernst said city staff should consider taking an approach that’s different than “this is why we can’t,” instead focusing on how things could work instead. Dreessen reiterated that the city wouldn’t be stuck with bearing all of the costs, and Potter suggested that he’d be willing to put up $100,000 of his own money. City councilman Chad Cummings suggested the possibility of working with JBS on getting its sanitary sewer access.

The parties agreed to continue finding ways to collaborate on getting the truck stop the sewer access it needs.

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