At their regular meeting Aug. 13, Conway City Council voted seven to zero to approve a resolution authorizing the condemnation by eminent domain proceedings on properties related to the Western Arterial Loop project.
City Attorney Michael Murphy said the city could not come to an agreement on price with two landowners whose land is in the path of the Western Arterial Loop.
Council granted the request to move into eminent domain proceedings for those parcels.
“Obviously, if we get a little closer where both parties possibly could resolve this, we will bring that back to you in the interim of the proceedings,” Murphy said.
There are two scenarios possible for the proceedings: A similar case in Russellville did not put that city at risk for additional attorneys fees, however the Conway project is tied with the Arkansas Highway Department and the legislature has changed things to where projects involving the AHD could result in the condemning party being responsible for reasonable attorneys fees.
“The question would be, and the risk would be, whether this is a highway department project,” Murphy said. “We’ve styled this that ... this is the city of Conway’s action, not a highway department’s. They’re not a main party.”
Gold Creek Baptist Church is one of the landowners named in the resolution. Murphy said the church has asked for relocation costs. The plans for the road go west of the church, between the main building and the parsonage. It also impedes some parking space.
The other landowner has asked the city to pay compensation for the trees on his property. The city did not find that reasonable in their negotiations, but in their motion to proceed with eminent domain asked to see if an agreement was still possible.
Murphy said Aug. 19 that the city had been in touch with the attorneys for both parties and the attorneys were then going to convey the situation to their clients. No other changes or resolutions had been made at that time.