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Tops Trailer Court owners appeal city's annexation

News Editor
   March 19, 2003 — Phil and Brigitte Morsman, owners of Tops Trailer Court, have filed a notice of intent to appeal the city of Madras' recent annexation of 759 acres north of town in the industrial area.
   The city council learned last week that the state Department of Revenue has approved the annexation, and City Administrator Steve Bogart said he's confident the annexation is legitimate.
   "I am fairly comfortable that the annexation is true and valid," Bogart said. "The city is prepared to defend it before the state land use board, the court system or in a public forum."
   In their notice of appeal, the Morsmans indicate they are representing themselves. Their appeal is to the state Land Use Board of Appeals.
   On Tuesday, Brigitte Morsman said she and her husband's appeal had been "sent back" with instructions to engage in mediation with the city.
   "My lawyer has to send it back and we have to make a date," Brigitte Morsman said. She said she couldn't reveal the identity of their lawyer.
   Bogart said the city has not been contacted regarding mediation and knows little of the appeal or its contents.
   "I do not have one phone message or one e-mail and I haven't heard word one," Bogart said. "I know that we're going to LUBA. The issue of mediation is brand new to me."
   On Feb. 25, the city council unanimously approved annexing the industrial area, which is expected to generate more than $130,000 of additional annual tax revenue for the city after seven years.
   The annexation increases the city's land mass by 50 percent. The total value of newly incorporated real property totals roughly $34 million.