Council considers "eminent domain" to condemn home for project
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- A Sioux City street expansion has hit a road block.
Since at least 2005 the city has tried to expand Glen Oaks Boulevard connecting it to Chambers Street. But that construction could bump one Siouxlander out of her home.
The project is planned near the dead end of Glen Oaks, south of 31st street.
Construction would take that dead end and connect it to Chambers, adding drainage ditches on both sides to combat flooding.
To build the city needed to purchase nine homes, but so far the owner of 3024 Chambers Street, and 3000 Prospect Street, is holding out keeping the city from construction.
Tonight, the city council will vote on the matter, deciding whether they should acquire the land through "eminent domain," a process the city calls "a last resort."
The two properties in dispute are owned by Bev Newton. She says the city offered her $154,000 for her home and her nearby plot of land.
Newton says the estimate isn't high enough because of the near $80,000 dollars worth of renovation she's done to the property and a flooding issue she blames the city for.
Newton want's $200 to $230-thousand for her property.
"They are supposed to expedite these kind of situations to avoid extreme stress and they have done exactly the opposite they've added extreme stress," says Newton.
If eminent domain is approved tonight, the debate won't end. The city will first seek approval from a judge, then form a commission to investigate the property.
The land will be re-evaluated and re-appraised for market value. Once that value is determined the city will acquire the property, and pay Newton.
The city says it could take nearly three months for that commission to render a verdict and during that time negotiations with Newton can continue.
"Well obviously are hopes are to go forward and not go through the processes of eminent domain and the important thing to remember is that even if we are asking the council for permission to go forward we are still actively trying to settle this matter," says Assistant Sioux City City Attorney Nicole Jensen-Harris.
Newton has also been offered similar sized homes for trade. But she says the lots were not large enough.
Newton says she is prepared to file a civil suit against the city if they approve the use of eminent domain. So, for now, the debate hinges on the city councils vote this evening.