Council considers eminent domain: Amador Ledger-Dispatch, Jackson CA, 7/4/07

By Kelly Enos

A pipeline that will carry treated drinking water from Tanner Reservoir to the city of Plymouth was the subject of heavy discussion at the Plymouth City Council meeting held June 28.

The project, which will be owned and operated by the Amador Water Agency, is intended to ensure a reliable source of drinking water as the city develops, as well as an adequate supply for fire fighting purposes. According to a 2005 preliminary engineering report on the pipeline project, the city's current sources for its water supply don't meet summer demands or maximum day needs.

To complete the project, the city would need to acquire property interests for the easement of the pipeline. Property owners Ronald and Linda Matulich and Russell and Doris Evitt currently own the land the city needs to acquire for the project.

With no other land within or outside the easement to locate the project, council members on Thursday considered eminent domain proceedings for the Matulich and Evitt easements.

Kevin Rodman, a Jackson attorney representing the Matulich family, told the council his clients were surprised at this action, as they believed they had an understanding with the city that was agreeable to both parties.

"Mr. Matulich asked me to speak to council tonight on his behalf, because you are being asked to file a lawsuit against an agreement that he has already agreed to," Rodman said. He added that the Matulich family was under the belief that the negotiations were successful and were waiting on the paperwork that would finalize the deal made between the city and the Matulichs.

Interim City Administrator Gene Albaugh asked the council to table the Matulich matter until the next meeting scheduled for July 12. "As of 4:12 p.m. this afternoon, we believe an agreement has been reached on the Matulich resolution," he said.

The Evitt family was not present at the meeting, nor were their representatives present to speak on its behalf. In a motion made by Councilman Greg Baldwin and seconded by Councilwoman Pat Fordyce, the council voted 5-0 to proceed with the eminent domain action against the Evitts. "This does not stop the negotiations with the Evitts," Albaugh noted. "We are still proceeding in good faith with them and hope to continue until an agreement is reached."

Amador Ledger-Dispatch, Jackson CA: http://www.ledger-dispatch.com