Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

BMA gives OK to condemn woman’s property to use for needed sewer line

The development of a new subdivision may lead to the condemnation of land on State Route 81 North if town officials cannot strike a deal with the property owner.
Last year, Jonesborough’s Planning Commission approved the development of a subdivision at Anderson Road off State Route 81 North. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen subsequently approved homes in the subdivision being connected to the town’s sewer system once the neighborhood is developed.
That plan, however, has hit a snag.
The town planned to use a “gravity flow” sewer system to connect the subdivision, but must do so by going across two tracts of land on either side of State Route 81.
One is owned by Dean Carter and the other by Ruth Conley.
Carter has agreed to the sewer easement, but Conley reportedly does not want the line to go through her property and has refused to agree to an easement, town leaders said.
The town has offered to pay fair-market value for the property easement, which is valued at $2,750. The easement would not take away Conley’s ownership of the property, but would simply allow the town to put the line across her land.
“There’s really no other option for us if we’re going to opt with gravity sewer in this area and I think we need to do that,” Browning said. “Based on the engineer, it actually improves the value of her property.”
Once the sewer is in the ground, Browning said, the only visible evidence of the line would be manhole covers installed flush with the ground. Conley could continue to use the property for pasture or cutting hay.
According to Town Attorney Jim Wheeler, the town has gone “around and around for several months trying to get an agreement” with Conley.
Members of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen, at their January meeting, approved a resolution to allow town officials to file a condemnation action in court to obtain the sewer easement across the Conley property.
“Condemnation is not something we do lightly or without thought,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “Let’s at least try to negotiate one more time with Miss Conley.”
As Wolfe requested, Browning and Wheeler planned to attempt negotiations once more before pursuing condemnation of the property.
According to state law, the town has the power of condemnation and eminent domain for public purposes when public convenience requires it.