The city of Lacey is once again weighing whether to use its powers of eminent domain to acquire property in its urban growth area — land it needs for an easement tied to a sewer line lift station.
That was the message delivered by City Manager Scott Spence during the City Council’s work session Thursday night.
“Time to time, when trying to do projects that benefit the public good, negotiations come to an endgame and we need tools to assist in that process,” Spence said. “We’ve exhausted negotiations and may need to go down the condemnation route.”
He emphasized that the city hasn’t taken that step yet, but if it decides to move forward with that process, it would first come before the council for authorization.
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Eminent domain is defined as the “right of the government to take, or to authorize the taking of, private property for public use, with just compensation being given to the owner.”
The easement property is east of Marvin Road and north of Steilacoom Road. It is owned by Frank Evans, the council disclosed Thursday night. He owns about 50 acres in the area, including land occupied by the Rainier Vista mobile home park.
The two sides spent a year in negotiations and had come to terms on an agreement, including an acquisition price of about $30,000, City Attorney Dave Schneider said.
But the property owner has been “nonresponsive the last month,” Schneider said.
Water resources manager Peter Brooks said the city already has missed the opportunity to construct the lift station this summer.
“If we don’t get this easement, we’re in danger of losing the 2017 construction season,” he added.
The city also is considering eminent domain for land it needs to upgrade Hogum Bay Road and add a roundabout at Hogum Bay and Willamette Drive Northeast. For that project, the city needs three rights-of-way, totaling about 14,000 square feet.
City Attorney Schneider said Thursday night there was no new information about that project.