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Rick Scholl submits request to vacate roadway to connect several pieces of property he owns and plans to build on

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ST. HELENS - This graphic indicates the properties that Rick Scholl owns and a rough outline of what vacations were recommended by city staff to the planning commission. The issue is expected to come before the St. Helens City Council during a meeting next week. The St. Helens City Council is expected to hear a proposal next week from Rick Scholl, the mayor of St. Helens, who is requesting a series of street vacations that would allow him to connect several parcels of property together on a bluff at the top of Wyeth Street.

The St. Helens Planning Commission first heard from Scholl and Ron Schlumpberger, the co-owner of the property and an insurance agent in St. Helens, in August when the pair submitted a request for street vacations along portions of Wyeth Street, North 8th Street and North 9th Street.

Property records show that Scholl and Schlumpberger purchased two separate .13-acre pieces along North 8th Street and the corner of Wyeth and North 9th Street in January. Scholl had already purchased a .27-acre property that runs along Wyeth Street and is bordered on either side by North 8th and North 9th Street, essentially sandwiched between the other property, last March.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the planning commission continued discussion and ultimately approved a recommended design that includes street access from North 9th Street with a potential road design running along Wyeth Street that would end in a cul-de-sac hammerhead. The design provides access to the separate properties.

During discussions with the planning commission, Scholl indicated that he and Schlumpberger were hoping to eventually build houses on the land.

Scholl explained during the planning commission meeting last month that he has plans to build a personal house on the property and said when he purchased it he learned the portion of land he was interested in was a series of four lots, not just one, which presented some logistical issues for construction.

City Planner Jacob Graichen explained that right-of-way street vacations essentially allow the property owner to take back the portion of land which was a public access right-of-way to allow the property owner to build on it.

At one point, St. Helens Senior Center manager Cheryl Young, who is also the mayor of Columbia City, said Scholl approached her to request purchasing a piece of property the senior center owns on the corner of Wyeth and 8th Street, or possibly "going in" on helping pay for road improvements to access the properties since they are adjacent to one another.

Young said she told Scholl she was not interested in selling the property, however, and said investing money from the senior center's tight budget would likely not be possible.

Graichen said the planning commission typically does not see right-of-way street vacation requests, but Scholl had requested the issue go before the planning commission for a recommendation prior to being heard by the City Council.

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