UPDATE (8:05 p.m.) The Kingsport BMA voted to approve the resolution authorizing condemnation proceedings against property owners.
KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Dana and Mikell Admire hoped to plant an orchard of fruit trees on a section of their 16 acre farm. Now they say this won’t be possible, as the City of Kingsport plans to build a sewer line through it as part of a $1.1 million expansion project.
Kingsport may take legal action against the Admires and two other property owners living near the Tri-Cities Crossing area. This comes as landowners refuse the payment the city is offering them to build sewer lines through their properties. At their Tuesday meeting, the Kingsport BMA will vote to authorize condemnation proceedings.
The Admires believe the city is refusing to offer proper compensation for use of their land.
“They’re going across the entire width of our farm. They are removing our only water source. That impact is huge on a farm,” Dana said.
The land containing their farm and several other neighbor’s properties was annexed about seven years ago.
“We understood why it was annexed, because of Tri-Cities Crossing,” said Dana. “There was the intent that this would become developed. However we are quite a ways down the road now, and that hasn’t happened.”
Current city administration says they’re now carrying out sewer extension additions made in that orginal agreement.
“A previous board had annexed this area. And in that annexation there’s an agreement to provide certain services, and this is one of those services,” said Kingsport Deputy City Manager Ryan McReyolds.
In October, the Admires received a letter saying the City would offer a $1,200 easement to put the sewer line through their property. They hired an independent appraiser to assess the value, which was then found to be $18,600.
“We just would like to have a reasonable settlement out of it,” said Mikell.
The Admires say they’re also required to pay a $2,000 hookup fee once the sewer is built. They hired a lawyer to counter-offer an easement, but haven’t heard back from the City.
“We have been continually refused meetings, the ability to speak to them. They won’t even speak to our neighbors about it,” said Dana.
The BMA will vote to launch condemnation proceedings against the Admires and their neighbors for not voluntarily signing easement agreements.
The couple says they first found out they were named in the resolution when News Channel 11 called them on Monday.
“A resolution to approve the city attorney to sue us for eminent domain,” said Dana. “Which is shocking, again, because we’ve had no contact with them since we responded to their original request.”
In a statement to News Channel 11, a City of Kingsport spokesperson said “easement money is decided based on state guidelines.”
The Admires said they don’t believe any of their other affected neighbors have signed easement agreements yet.
Aside from the sewer taking away their ability to plant on a section of the farm, the Admires believe the unwanted sewer is a waste of taxpayer money.
“At this point it’s not serving any purpose,” said Dana. “It’s harming the citizens, not helping.”