consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

RAMSEY - Land swapping discussions and such.

Eric Hagen reports for ABC Newspapers, "Land swap discussion with church steers away from The COR," dated November 17, 2014:

St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church has no immediate plans to move from its commercial space to a permanent building, but it owns 33 acres by Central Park that the city may some day want for a larger park.

[...] The proposal was for the city to receive 33 acres of the church’s property next to Central Park. In return, St. Katharine Drexel would get 10 acres in The COR.

Although votes cannot be taken at a council workshop and Mayor Sarah Strommen and Council Member Jason Tossey were absent, the rest of the council did not want a 10-acre property within The COR to become non-taxable.

“Having 10 acres of prime land held indefinitely I don’t think would be beneficial to the city,” Council Member Chris Riley said.

Randy Bauer is a deacon at St. Katharine Drexel, but is also a Ramsey Planning Commission member.

St. Katharine Drexel is currently renting commercial building space at 7101 143rd Ave. NW. [Randy?] Bauer said after the church was founded in 2004, a member [Jerry Bauer?] donated 33.18 acres located next to Central Park, according to [Randy?] Bauer.

Riverblood said even with a park expansion, St. Katharine Drexel could still have space for a new church especially if a shared parking agreement could be reached. [...]

Speaking on behalf of the church, with several other members and the lead pastor Rev. Paul Jaroszeski present, [Randy?] Bauer told the council that the church is fine with expanding next to Central Park but thought The COR location would have been a better.

“If you have no interest in expanding the park, we are fine holding onto our existing site,” [Randy?] Bauer said.

The church [via which spokesperson?] said it would have built a 20,000-square-foot facility with a 500-seat auditorium on 3-5 acres, similar to the size of Northgate Church that is also located in The COR. The remaining 5-7 acres would have remained undeveloped for an unknown amount of time.

Two members of the council disclosed that they have ties to St. Katharine Drexel, but still participated in the workshop discussion. Council Member Randy Backous, who will be off the council at the end of the year, was one of the founding members. Council Member Mark Kuzma said St. Katharine Drexel is where he attends church services. They joined the other two present members of the council at the Oct. 28 workshop, Council Members Jill Johns and John LeTourneau, in saying they welcomed efforts to find the church a suitable long-term site but that it should not be in The COR.

According to Patrick Brama, assistant to the city administrator, the city’s asking price for the 10 acres in The COR would have been around $1.7 million for this land that is visioned for retail and office type users.

Brama said county records show that the 33-acre site was purchased for $740,200 in 2004 and had an estimated 2015 market value of $205,000. However, this site is zoned for residential development in a city sewer and water service area. Using the city’s real estate broker’s pricing strategy, Brama said the asking price for this property would be in the neighborhood of $1.1 million.

[italics and braketed text added] So, if reading things correctly, the 33 acres has been taken off the tax rolls since 2004.

Ten years passed, no taxes collected on a 33 acre prime parcel, while the gun club across Variolite has been converted to housing, presumably at a good profit to gun club ownership. But since then the church has made no request for a rezone, from residential zoning?

Jesus is keeping options open?

With the 33 acres formerly owned/controlled by Jerry Bauer, it appears the Bauer clan members still speak for the future of the (church) property, and trading aspects; with the land itself where the church (via spokespersons) says it is presently located now being a Dennis Sharp controlled commercial site.

All to show, churches should be taxed. That would be a step to remove a possibility of tax avoidance, by the church or any of its founding congregation members or their affiliates, regardless of whatever past arrangements and dealings may have actually been.

Ten years' taxes ...

Brama noting a $1.1 million fmv for the 33 acres being a reasonable guess. Real money, to Ramsey, had it been taxed ...

And raw land being held for advantage produces no immediate cash flow to cover ongoing taxation, if/when it is taxed. That being an incentive to figure ways to shift raw land to some incarnation of tax-free status.

UPDATE: For the curious, there is this online item, explaining:

Katharine left a four-fold dynamic legacy to her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who continue her apostolate today, and indeed to all peoples:

– her love for the Eucharist, her spirit of prayer, and her Eucharistic perspective on the unity of all peoples;

– her undaunted spirit of courageous initiative in addressing social iniquities among minorities — one hundred years before such concern aroused public interest in the United States;

– her belief in the importance of quality education for all, and her efforts to achieve it;

– her total giving of self, of her inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of the victims of injustice.

Katharine Drexel was beatified by Pope John Paul II on November 20, 1980.

... giving of self and inheritance and all material goods in selfless service of victims of injustice. Okay.

FURTHER UPDATE: Current KD site:

click to enlarge and read

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