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Murray development property negotiations continued, eminent domain delayed

Mar 31, 2017 09:09AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Terry Carlson, the Fraternal Order of the Eagle’s grand aerie agent, speaks to the Murray City Council about the potential resolution to use eminent domain in city land acquisition. (Mandy Ditto/City Journals).

Gallery: Murray development property negotiations continued, eminent domain delayed [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Mandy Ditto | m.ditto@mycityjournals.com 

Instead of passing a resolution to allow use of eminent domain for further downtown development, the Murray City Council passed a motion giving an indefinite amount of time for negotiations with property owners.

The downtown property development will include more open space, a new city hall, parking structures for the public, and other public facilities, said Tim Tingey, director of the Administrative and Development Services Department.

The project will take place on land west of State Street from Vine Street north to 4800 South and areas that move from State Street to the TRAX line. There are five property owners the city is currently working with to negotiate fair compensation for 10 parcels of land in the area, as well as time to relocate, and aid in relocating.

“Eminent domain is a very difficult issue, we recognize that as a city,” Tingey said. “It’s something that we don’t take lightly at all, it’s something that is very serious for those involved, especially property owners, and we as a government entity are addressing this.”

In the March 7 meeting, property owners from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, representation for Walker Company Real Estate and Danny Johnson, and a representative from the Strasser Organization spoke to the council on taking away the threat of eminent domain, as well as the allowance of more time for negotiating before eminent domain is part of the equation. The same property owners petitioned the council at a February city council meeting for more time.

“Since our last meeting here before the council Tim and the appraisal team and other people in the city did come over, viewed the interior of the building,” said Terry Carlson, the FOE’s grand aerie agent. “After a lengthy tour of the building they told us they would get back to us. We also out of our own pockets put $3,500 for an appraisal of our own so that we could compare; we are waiting on that as well.”

The city has helped the FOE locate other properties in the city where they could take their liquor license, but the properties are either currently unavailable or out of the budget range for the organization, Carlson said. The FOE wants to stay in the Murray boundaries, but needs more financial help and time due to the circumstances they are facing in finding a new facility, he said.

Johnson will need to purchase another property in Murray and build a new facility to move his business, but is still working through negotiations with the city, said his legal representation Blaine Walker.  

“(Johnson’s) concerned about two things, the value and use, and timing. So if we can negotiate through those final things—timing issues and the final value—I think everybody’s going to be happy,” Walker said.

On behalf of the Strasser Organization Fidel Crespin spoke to the council and clarified that they own two of the properties that the city hopes to purchase.

“In the last two weeks we’ve accomplished more negotiations than in the months leading to the last decision, so another delay to negotiate so that we do have positive outcomes for both Murray City and for the Strasser Organization would be beneficial. I’m confident that with more time, without that eminent domain, that duress, to prevent fair negotiations from both sides…we could come to an agreement that would be beneficial,” Crespin said.

Tingey and his office have been in contact with Verizon Wireless, LLC to negotiate for part of the desired property where one of Verizon’s towers now sits, Tingey said. Compensation for Verizon has included discussing and disclosing other properties the tower could be relocated to in the city.

The fifth property owner did not attend the meeting but has been in contact with the city, and they are working to negotiate a fair offer.

After deliberation and comment from Mayor Ted Eyre, the council made a substitute motion to “delay action on this for an indefinite period of time,” said councilman Jim Brass.

With the new resolution good faith negotiations will be able to continue without a time limit, Tingey said.

However, the council did not take the possibility of using eminent domain in the future off the table.

“Don’t think this will prolong negotiations much longer, we will vote for eminent domain if we have to,” said councilman Dave Nicponski.

City council meetings can be viewed live online every first and third Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at murraycitylive.com, where archived meetings can also be viewed.  

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