Eminent domain started for village bulkhead access

By Brian Sweeney
The Village of Margaretville is moving ahead with eminent domain proceedings to obtain a small parcel needed to gain access to the village bulkhead for repair work.
The bulkhead is located at the junction of the East Branch of the Delaware River and the Binnekill stream. The repair project is aimed at creating increased water flow into the Binnekill to alleviate instances of the stream drying up.
In order to make the repairs, which will be funded by the Federal Emergency Man- agement Agency (FEMA), the village needs access to a section of land owned by the Davis Holding Company LLC.
Margaretville officials are pursuing the eminent domain proceedings because they believe “such access is necessary to preserve, maintain and protect not only the bulkhead itself, but the resulting impact on the flow of the Binnekill and its multiple economic, health and safety impacts on the Village of Margaretville.”
Company principal Lauren Davis has refused to grant easement access because he feels the project should be handled in a different manner than proposed by the village.
Because the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on the easement, the village is pursuing ownership of the property through eminent domain. The municipality was originally seeking to take ownership of a 4.15-acre parcel belonging to the LLC. The parcel size has been decreased to approximately 1.738 acres.
The decreased parcel size followed input at a public hearing and the decision by the village board to limit the parcel taking to the area immediately adjacent to the bulkhead. Officials feel that this smaller parcel will provide direct access to the bulkhead while allowing sufficient room for construction equipment.
The village must now solicit appraisals for the property and submit a purchase offer to the Davis Holding Company LLC based on the fair market. Mr. Davis will then have the opportunity to accept or challenge the monetary offer.