U-Haul loses court battle with Johnson City over land

Gary B. Gray • Nov 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Johnson City has a legal right to condemn and possess the downtown U-Haul property and to incorporate it into one of eight planned phases in the city’s long-range flood mitigation plan, according to an opinion and judgement issued Thursday by Washington County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Seeley.

The company’s basic objective since its Nashville attorney’s jumped in last year to fight the condemnation, has been to show that the city was attempting to use eminent domain to generate tax revenue instead of taking the property to help with downtown flood mitigation.

The city was tasked with showing that the condemnation and following flood remediation project is intended for “public use.” This is one of several Tennessee legal standards derived from the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments United States Constitution.

“The court finds and holds that the City of Johnson City’s proposed acquisition by condemnation of the U-Haul (defendants’) property is for a public use,” Seeley wrote in his conclusion.

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