Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The Oak Creek Town Board will decide tonight whether to condemn 0.11 acres of private land near the town's ice hockey rink.
The land is needed to make sure a new roof being built to cover the rink and the snow slide from the roof are completely on town property. Owning the land should help the town get the building permits it needs to comply with its building codes.
The condemnation process already has begun, with a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Town attorney Bob Weiss said the town is hopeful that it will resolve the issue before it is heard in court.
The town has offered to pay property owner Joe Foreman $2,000 for the piece of land, which is at the bottom of the Foreman's hillside lot. If an appraisal of the land came back at a higher value, the town could consider offering a different amount, Weiss said.
"The town is wanting to be fair about this, obviously," he said.
Foreman could not be reached for comment.
Through the condemnation process, certain types of public entities, mostly local and state governments, have the authority to acquire property by eminent domain, Weiss said. Using the land for a town-owned hockey rink is considered a valid need, he said, so if a resolution before the court hearing is not reached, it is likely the property will be condemned Tuesday.
After a property is condemned, the property owner can choose whether the question of compensation for the land should be decided by a three-member court-appointed commission or by a jury.
Oak Creek Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said she could not remember a time when the town condemned private property.
The new roof and other rink improvements were funded through a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, along with significant contributions of time and material from individuals.
Weiss said he thinks the town and Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman have followed proper procedures for building the new roof despite the property issue and the fact that the town does not have building permits.
"The whole project would have gone down the tubes if they had not done what they did," Weiss said. If it had not pressed ahead with work this fall, the town would have had "technical compliance and no ice rink," he said.
Also, the Town Board will consider relocating a historic log home to Bucket Park on Main Street, and will discuss whether it is necessary to raise sewer rates for 2005 to help pay for the new sewer plant.
The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com