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Should Johnson City use eminent domain to get Knob Creek project moving?

Johnson City Press • Mar 12, 2018 at 8:33 AM

As reported by city reporter Zach Vance on March 1, the Johnson City Commission voted at its last meeting to start the condemnation process for two properties needed for a construction project to build a railroad overpass and widen Knob Creek Road.

The road project has been on the city’s to-do list for years to eliminate a traffic bottleneck at a single-lane tunnel, and all the properties for the right-of-way have been acquired save for the two, one for which the owner is asking 16 times the appraised value and the other which the owner and commercial tenant can’t agree on selling.

Since the city and the interested parties can’t come to an agreement, the commissioners started the condemnation process, otherwise known as eminent domain.

Once a condemnation action is filed, a court will determine a reasonable amount of compensation, the city will pay it to the landowners, the city will take possession of the land and the project will proceed.

The process is somewhat controversial, after all, it permits a government to acquire land against the will of the owners and tenants of property, but it also protects taxpayers from being gouged when owners are demanding an inordinate price and holding up projects to benefit the public good.

That’s why we want to hear from you. Should Johnson City use eminent domain to get the Knob Creek project moving?

Send your comments to mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters must be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

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