City uses eminent domain for first time in 16 years: Gillette WY News-Record, 3/7/07

By Christa Meland

The City of Gillette has decided to use its eminent domain powers to try and take land from a Jackson-based non-profit organization in order to create an extension between Kluver Road and Warlow Drive.

The last time the city sued for condemnation was 16 years ago, and the practice has been used by the city only a handful of times.

City Council members, most of whom generally oppose taking private land without permission, voted 6 to 1 in favor of using eminent domain earlier this week. They want to sue the Karl Johnson Foundation in hopes of acquiring a 2.28 acre parcel of land southeast of Cherry Lane.

City officials in 2002 listed the Kluver Road extension as a priority in the transportation plan they created. For the past two years, city workers have tried to move forward with the estimated $2.4 million project but have been unsuccessful in negotiating with the nonprofit organization that owns the land.

“We began in August 2006 in earnest to try to acquire (the property),” said Engineering Director Mike Coleman.

He added that city workers have created various road designs for the nonprofit organization to review and have tried to minimize the loss of trailer park lots that the extension would cause to the organization, but they have received no response.

The attorney for the Karl Johnson Foundation was not available for comment by press time.

Gillette WY News-Record: http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com