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‘Resolutions of necessity’ for UEP on workshop agenda

By Staff | Dec 1, 2012

With the Southwest 6&7 utilities expansion project set to begin soon, the city has to acquire certain properties by eminent domain to construct lift stations to canal pump stations to support wastewater collection and the irrigation system.

During Monday’s city council workshop meeting, six such “resolutions of necessity” will be discussed, four involving wastewater and two with irrigation, in which properties will be bought by the city for the UEP to go through.

The properties are necessary to build two canal pump stations and four lift stations in the project area.

City manager John Szerlag will be instructed to negotiate a sale with the owner of the property, not to exceed the appraised value, unless the owner is not amenable to that price tag.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail said the city would prefer to use city-owned land if it’s in a site where they need them, but that apparently isn’t possible.

“The first choice is always to look for city property. This will instruct the city’s property manager and city manager to negotiate for the sale of the land and settle on a value,” McGrail said.

The parcels are as follows:

Lots 4 and 5, Block 1913, Unit 28, 714 SW 15th St., Appraised value $9,500.

Lots 6 and 7, Block 1913, Unit 28, 710 SW 15th St., Appraised value $9,500.

937 SW 6th Court, appraised value $1,261.

833 SW 20th St., Appraised value $1,261.

1423 SW 20th St., Appraised value $1,261.

1602 SW 18th Lane, Appraised value $1,332.

City spokesperson Connie Barron said because this is an eminent domain case, the properties sought were put in separate resolutions rather than in one fell swoop.

“In the past we did this in a single resolution, but because it’s in reference to eminent domain, the city attorney (Dolores Menendez) said it would be better to do it individually,” Barron said.

Councilmember Kevin McGrail said this could bring about the possibility of a land swap for areas north of Pine Island Road from the 652 acres that the city bought at auction in May, possibly the former Thieman property.

It could also mean the seller could receive a canal lot in exchange for a dry lot and get a property worth much more than what they’re selling.

“We’re telling the land owner this is important. When you’re swapping dry lot for a fresh- or saltwater lot, you’re looking at two or three times the value,” McGrail said.

If the landowners are still hesitant, they can be consoled by the fact they will get fair market value for the property.

“The property purchased through the UEP must be at fair market value,” Barron said. “We can’t lowball them. We need an appraisal.”

Also on the agenda will be a presentation from Public Works Director Steve Neff regarding the stormwater master plan (SMP) for 2013.

The SMP, for which the city partnered with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, identifies proposed drainage and water utility improvements and is a critical component to obtain grants for projects within the SMP.

Also, council will discuss the findings from the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee concerning recommendations related to incentives that may be utilized to encourage more development of affordable housing.

The plan, which must be adopted by Dec. 31, serves as its final recommendation to council, which may approve or change incentives.

The document will then be transmitted to Florida Housing Finance Corporation for approval.

If necessary, the city must complete amendments to the local housing assistance plan reflecting the recommendations by March 31, 2013, according to the resolution.