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Country Meadows residents return to city council amid Crawford County Storage dispute

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
The entrance to Country Meadows Estates seen on Friday, Nov. 20 in Alma. Crawford County Storage is expanding it's business at left.

Residents of the Country Meadows neighborhood in Alma approached the city council on Dec. 17 to discuss the ongoing issues they have with nearby construction in their neighborhood. Ramona Nelson spoke to the council personally with the disputes. 

Since October, residents of Country Meadows in Alma have had issues with construction at Crawford County Storage. The storage facility sits right next to the neighborhood, and has an emergency exit at the back of the property that construction workers have been utilizing. 

The emergency exit sits at a dead end street and construction workers have been using it to gain access to the back of the property easier. 

At the November city council meeting the residents were told that the need for the use of the emergency exit was for laying concrete and that it has been finished. Nelson claims that, although they were supposed to be finished, the trucks have still used the exit. 

City Attorney Sean Brister says that the city has nothing on the books that could make them legally halt the use of the exit by the construction workers in that area. 

"We are limited to what we can do legally," said Mayor Jerry Martin. "Anything I can enforce legally, I want done."

Martin said that their only course of action with this issue is asking Crawford County Storage owner Jim White to stop, but since they can't force him to stop, it would be his choice whether he did or not. 

According to Nelson, White has said that he is using that exit so that the trucks don't have to drive through and damage his parking lot. Nelson asked the council why he is allowed to damage city streets instead of his own property. 

According to Brister, if city streets were damaged during the construction then they would need evidence that the streets weren't damaged beforehand. 

Alma Police Chief Jeff Pointer said that if there was damage then it would be easy to identify who created it. Nelson passed around photos of damage in the neighborhood, but there was no concrete proof that the damage wasn't present beforehand. 

Martin says that this issue has brought opportunities for the city council and planning commission to make sure that it doesn't happen in the future. He said that by January they should have a document that will allow for more information on possible construction.

The document will outline many different possible issues with the construction as well as what specifics need to go in front of the planning commission. The document will have an extensive list of possible issues since every project will be different.  

Residents of County Heights in Alma have been in a dispute with Crawford County Storage and their use of large trucks for construction on their streets.