5/13/2007

Greer might play hardball for land: Spartanburg SC Herald, 5/6/07

By Jessica De Vault

A triangular-shaped parcel of land could be the last roadblock keeping Greer [SC] from moving forward with the construction of its municipal complex and park.

The city plans to use its power of eminent domain if property owner Charlene Snow doesn't settle for the appraised value of the land, city officials said.

Snow's business, the Wolfe Real Estate Agency, sits on the property.

In an e-mail response, City Administrator Ed Driggers said the parcel, no larger than about 2,700 square feet, is part of the forthcoming park. The appraised value was less than $25,000, he said.

$25,000 vs. $57,000
The city offered Snow $25,000.

"We attempted to negotiate for the purchase of the entire property, but could not come to terms for a price," Driggers said. "We then modified our construction plans to include only what we must have."

The price Snow requested was more than double the land's appraised value, Driggers said.

"The owner had a separate appraisal done which valued the land at approximately $27,000. She, however, contends she has consequential damage and is demanding approximately $57,000," Driggers said. "We disagree with the consequential damage claim."

Snow did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.

City Attorney John Duggan said the city has had to exercise eminent domain before for this project.

"We had one prior property owner that we initially couldn't reach an agreement with in regards to the property value," Duggan said, referring to a parcel of land that will be the site of the new city hall. "Eminent domain was initiated by the city. The parties agreed to mediate the issue. At mediation, an agreement was reached concerning the value of the property."

The city's municipal complex and park is a $20.6 million project that will include a new city hall, police and courts building and park, all to be constructed downtown. If the project moves forward as scheduled, construction can be completed within 18 months, city officials said.


Spartanburg SC Herald: http://www.goupstate.com