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DISTRICT COURT

Man sues Arcadia, mayor in land dispute

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arcadia hoogestraat 20-09-23

Steven Hoogestraat put up a fence to keep Arcadia residents from putting their yard waste on his property, which makes up half of the city's dump for brush and grass. The dispute is being litigated in court.

A Carroll man who owns a strip of land near Arcadia — part of which is used for the city’s yard waste dump site — is suing the city for failing to properly maintain the site, according to court records.

Steven Hoogestraat owns the land of about half of the dump site that the city has leased since 1938. This year in March, Hoogestraat, 71, allegedly pushed a pile of brush compost to form a line along the border of his land, effectively barring anyone from dumping more yard waste on his land.

About that same time, Hoogestraat put up a fence and sign that read, in part: “This is a legal fence and the area fenced off is private property.”

The sign also listed reasons for Hoogestraat’s bisection of the dump site, but court documents did not detail them.

Hoogestraat declined a request to comment for this article.

The issue made its way to the courts in May when the City of Arcadia sued Hoogestraat for more than $6,000 for breach of contract — the lease agreement is set to expire in 2037 — and for a municipal infraction for “creating a nuisance.”

In July, Hoogestraat fired back and accused the city of “maintaining a nuisance, illegal waste disposal and a rat harborage.”

He further sued Arcadia Mayor Kevin Liechti for making unspecified false statements in the city’s initial court claim against Hoogestraat, which Hoogestraat alleges was “extortionate, an abuse of process and malicious prosecution.”

Liechti declined to comment for this article, but he denied the allegations in a statement that was mailed to Arcadia residents:

“Throughout this dispute regarding the yard waste disposal site and my tenure as mayor, I have acted in the best interests of the city and its citizens,” he wrote. “I look forward to the litigation being resolved.”

Hoogestraat has asked a judge to order Arcadia to pay for an environmental assessment of the dump site to determine whether there are violations that need to be remedied, and he seeks an unspecified amount of money from Liechti.

Right now, Hoogestraat’s land is separated from the city’s portion of the dump site by fence posts, rope and hazard cones. In Liechti’s mailed statement, he asked residents to avoid putting their yard waste on Hoogestraat’s land for now.

It’s unclear when the matter will be settled.

Hoogestraat and his family have owned the land — which is part of a narrow strip of 4 acres that was formerly a railroad line — for about 70 years, according to court records. He has operated a tree farm there.

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