Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Livingston Airport Settles With 2 Landowners In Expansion Project

The city of Livingston has settled with two of the three property owners needed to get a Livingston Municipal Airport expansion project underway.

City Attorney Andre Greppin said he and the city’s consultants had tried for months to get property owners to sell at a reasonable price. He said upon threatening to acquire the land using eminent domain, all three owners returned to negotiations and two settled.

“If we ultimately have to condemn the property, then if there is an excess judgment, most of that is covered by a T-DOT grant,” Greppin said. “But, in our discussions, we’ve decided that paying a little extra now and getting the project going, there’s value in that.”

The final remaining property is a 25-acre track, but the city only needs some six acres. Greppin said after appraising that land at some $37,000, the owner insisted the city buy the entire track for $1.7 million. Livingston Aldermen voted Monday night to give the owner until March 1 to settle, or they will file litigation for the use of eminent domain.

“That was just not workable or acceptable,” Greppin said. “If we have to condemn the property, all we’re going to take is the 6.25 acres, and he and his attorneys, they understand.”

Greppin said upon explaining this to attorneys, they dropped the original price down to $110,000. Greppin said that is still three times what the property was appraised at, but it is progress.

“We still have a little bit of work to do,” Greppin said. “But we have made significant progress and I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to reach a fair deal and close on this final property as well.”

Greppin said the city closed on one property on Monday, and another is having a final deal drawn up. He said theoretically, he could have the lawsuit together in a day and proceed if needed.

“There is a limit on our patience and this project needs to move forward,” Greppin said.

The project will increase the safety barrier around the facility.

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