NEWTON COUNTY MOVES
FORWARD WITH BEAR CREEK RESERVOIR
that thought this reservoir was “dead” needs to take notice. During the recent commission races the issue
of Bear Creek Reservoir was brought up at the candidate forums.
candidates said it was “not going to happen”; others felt confident it would.
people living on Jackson Lake feel most strongly about this reservoir as it
could affect the water quality of Jackson
Lake and therefore affect
the latest from the Covington News.
Entire story is below. Highlighting is that of TWG.
BOC moves to condemn
property for reservoir
By Rachel Oswald, Senior Reporter POSTED Dec. 18, 2008 8:41 p.m. The Covington
The Newton County Board
of Commissioners took steps on Tuesday to condemn the land of a homeowner who
has thus far refused to sell his land to make way for the Bear Creek Reservoir.
The BOC approved a move
to retain an outside law firm to begin proceedings in the Newton County
Superior court to condemn 4.086 acres of land owned by Emmett Denby and Rhonda
Jean Denby and First National Bank of Newton County.
Emmett Denby has been an
opponent of the Bear Creek Reservoir for more than a decade and has refused to
sell his land to the county to make way for the reservoir. The land owned by the Denbys is the last bit of land that the county
requires for the 1,242 acre reservoir, which is still awaiting a
construction permit from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
This is not the first
time the county has moved to condemn Denby’s land.
The resolution approved
by the BOC states that condemnation action is being pursued "due to the expeditious nature of the necessity to
acquire such property."
"Just and adequate compensation" are to be paid to the Denbys
for their land, according to the resolution.
Denby said he had not
been notified by the county or its attorney’s that they were moving to condemn
"This is completely
new to me. The last time I talked to [County Chairman] Aaron Varner or [County
Attorney] Tommy Craig was in March," said Denby referring to a public
meeting on the reservoir during which he was escorted from the building after
he refused to give up the microphone when he was not called on to speak by
Craig during the Q&A session.
Denby ran twice
unsuccessfully for county chairman, once in 2004 and once in 2008.
"I’m a little upset
right now because I hadn’t heard about this," Denby said, adding that he
has been waiting for the county to take action for 12 years. "They
condemned me back in 2002 and then they dropped that condemnation back in 2006
and now this is 2008."
Attorneys with Tommy
Craig’s office declined to comment on the resolution to condemn Denby’s land,
which was passed after a closed executive session at Tuesday night’s board
Denby threatened legal
action of his own if the county condemned his land. "I feel that I’ve been deeply wronged by
this and if necessary I will sue the county," he said.
The BOC approved a
second resolution to condemn two tiny separate pieces of land needed for the
reservoir that together total one tenth of an acre. The land is needed for
flood easement and to fulfill buffer requirements.
James Griffin, an
attorney with Tommy Craig’s office said the county decided to condemn the land
because the estate that owns the land is split between a large group of heirs
that do not live in the area.
"The hard part is
getting the heirs to sell off their interest in the property when you can’t get
a hold of [them]. We’re condemning the property not because it’s an adversarial
said, adding that the value of the property is less than the fee of the surveyor.
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