Eminent Domain A Possibility for Reservoir Street Project

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- To complete the Reservoir Street Improvement Project, the City of Harrisonburg may have to resort to using eminent domain due to the fact that some of the property owners are not cooperating or are not responding to the city's request to take over their land.

20 properties could be impacted in this eminent domain discussion.

The entire project stretches from just before the intersection with University Boulevard to the city limits on Reservoir Street.

Some of the businesses in between Neff Avenue and University Boulevard are still negotiating with the city, according to the city's attorney Chris Brown.

He said they are hopeful they will come to an agreement, but if not, city council members will decide whether eminent domain can be an option at a meeting Tuesday night.

The city only needs small pieces of land, about 10 feet or so to widen the road.

No homes or buildings are impacted in this discussion as the city has already negotiated with home owners in the path of the project.

Richard Baugh, a city councilman said eminent domain would only be used as a last option.

"What this process really does is it just puts everyone to terms. It initiates a process by which we can get a third party, in this case a court, to determine what really would be the fair value for the property that we need for this project," said Baugh.

No specific properties will be talked about during Tuesday's meeting, it would be just deciding whether eminent domain can be an option in the future.

City leaders are hopeful they can still reach an agreement with the remaining property owners.

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