Posted: Jan 25, 2011 8:53 PM by Jeannette Hynes
Updated: Jan 26, 2011 6:04 AM
Colorado Springs City Council has put the issue of eminent domain on hold.
Tuesday evening, councilmembers asked Colorado Springs Utilities to go back to the negotiating table for 14 property owners in Pueblo West. Utilities is trying to acquire the land for the Southern Delivery System project, a 62-mile water pipeline that will go from the Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs.
"Some of them [councilmembers] at least were interested in us being able to have a little bit more latitude in what we are able to compensate these property owners," says Janet Rummel, Colorado Springs Utilities Spokesperson.
So far, Colorado Springs Utilities has negotiated and purchased 167 properties for the project.
The properties in question don't require the entire land to be purchased. Utilities is trying to buy 50-foot easements at the back of the properties.
The property owners that came to Tuesday's meeting say the money for the land is one thing, but they want to know about the quality and value of land both during construction and after the project is finished.
"If they can guarantee me that they do no damage to the environment or the native growth that lives through there, I would let them come through my property," remarks Adam Underhill.
"They are talking away our property value and they need to pay for that value. And they need to make sure they put it back like it's supposed to be," says Dwain Maxwell.
It is likely the cost of taking these homeowners to court through the eminent domain process will cost much more than the value of the properties.