City Council Approves Resolution to Start Condemnation Proceedings

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

HARRISONBURG, Va.--- The City Council approved a resolution to allow the city to use condemnation proceedings, if a settlement is not reached with property owners on Reservoir Street.

According to the City Attorney Chris Brown, at least 20 homeowners have not settled with the city.

" A couple of cases we just don't know who to negotiate with. Some cases we haven't had a response yet and in some cases folks have a difference of opinion as to the value," said Brown.

The council held a public hearing on Tuesday, but no one voiced his opinion about the matter.

Helen Foley who has lived on Reservoir Street, attended the city council meeting, even though she already settled with the city, selling a garage that used to be in her yard.

"The garage was not doing me no good. I thought it was better to get rid of it than to keep it," said Foley.

The land would allow the city to continue the Reservoir Street Improvement Project, which extends from University Boulevard to the East City limits. The project would expand Reservoir Street, from two to four lanes. It would also add a bike lane and a sidewalk.

"I think it would get rid of a lot of this traffic and relieve this traffic a lot. I sit at the bottom of this street right here sometimes I can even get out now," said Foley.

The city will continue its efforts to settle with the remaining land owners. Brown said before starting any proceedings, landowners will be notified about a public hearing in February where they will be allowed to speak about their concerns.

If they can't reach a settlement with the city after that, the city will initiate condemnation proceedings, which are handled in court.

"After that, the homeowners will have the option of taking that money out of court or contesting the amount offered basically through a trial procedure," said Brown.

Brown said the condemnation proceedings are not expected to delay the construction project.


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