Planning Board denies property owners' request to vacate street in southeast Mitchell

The owners of two neighboring trailer courts made the request

Shown here is a portion of the right-of-way street that two property owners requested to be vacated on Monday during the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

The city Planning and Zoning Commission denied recommending a property owner’s request to vacate a street on Monday that is located near Telstar Motors and the nearby trailer court in southeast Mitchell.

James River Housing Inc., and Jerry Regynski, the property owners for the Telstar Motors and Middle Border Estates trailer courts which neighbor each other, requested to vacate the right-of-way street that’s located on the 1300 block of South Kimball Street after mulling over ways to address the fence and brick sign that currently sit in the street. While the city of Mitchell had no issues with the request to vacate the street, the Planning Commission unanimously voted against the recommendation, citing the potential need for public access.

City Engineer Joe Schroeder said the city had no issues with vacating the alley, largely because it’s a dead-end street as of now. Schroeder said the fence and sign that sit in the street between the Telstar Motors and Middle Border Estates trailer courts is what largely led to the property owners request to vacate the street, which would allow them to leave the fence and sign.

“It is already a dead-end street, and we don’t foresee anything going through the trailer park, but we would have to talk to the property owners about getting the snow plows and garbage trucks through,” Schroeder said. “How this came about was it was identified that the fence on the east property was in the right-of-way, along with the sign, so vacation came up when discussing options to work through that.”

Commission Chairman Jay Larson opened the discussion, noting the city should never give up a right-of-way in any circumstance.


For potential emergency issues that may arise such as a fire, Mitchell Fire Marshall Shannon Sandoval said it would be “ideal to have a through street for fire and EMT trucks,” but noted it’s unlikely that it would cause any problems if the street is vacated.

“I share the opinions of it being nice to have a through street, but would that be an issue in the future? I would say probably never,” Sandoval said.

In the midst of the discussion, Commission member Jon Osterloo recommended allowing the property owner to leave the fence in the street, while still denying to vacate it. But Osterloo’s recommendation was met with opposition from Public Works Director Kyle Croce.

“I understand the party’s intent to leave it as a private road, but recommending that they leave a structure or something in the right-of-way is a bad idea,” Croce said.

City Engineering Supervisor Terry Johnson echoed Croce’s concern with the placement of the fence and brick signage, citing it as the main concern that needs to be addressed.

“That is more of the issue, and anytime we do an improvement, anytime we use federal funding to improve the street, the encroachment limits that funding. All of the fences should be on his property anyway, because when we are doing sidewalk projects we have a lot of areas where the fences are in the right-of-way, we make the property owner put that fence on their property,” Johnson said. “They shouldn’t be putting it on the public right-of-way, because it is reserved for the public not for private use.”

In response, Osterloo said the fence has been sitting in the street for many years, which prompted him to suggest allowing the fence to stay in the right-of-way street. Following the discussion, the Planning Commission included recommending the property owners to remove the fence and sign. Therefore, the motion recommends denying vacating the street, along with removing the fence and sign.

The Mitchell City Council will consider upholding the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny vacating the street, along with removing the fence and sign at the Dec. 21 meeting.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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