The city of Lacey plans to spend $6.2 million to improve Hogum Bay Road and add a roundabout at Willamette Drive Northeast, but it needs to acquire three more rights-of-way to do it.
During Thursday night’s Lacey City Council meeting, City Manager Scott Spence said the city has come to an impasse with owners of those three properties, totaling about 14,000 square feet, and is now considering condemnation to acquire those slivers of property.
“We’re not there yet,” said Spence about whether the city will use eminent domain to acquire the property. But if negotiations fall apart and the city moves in that direction, it would come before the City Council for a vote, he said.
Eminent domain is defined as the “right of the government to take, or to authorize the taking of, private property for public use, with just compensation being given to the owner.”
Spence did not mention the specifics of the dispute, although it’s likely about money.
Public Works Director Scott Egger declined to comment on the specifics of the negotiations, instead deferring comment to City Attorney Dave Schneider. Schneider was not available for comment.
Egger said the three parcels are under different ownership, but all three have the same representation. A check of Thurston County Assessor’s Office data showed one parcel is owned by Lacey Commercial, while the other owners are identified as 919 Partnership and Light Industrial 8.
“Hopefully, we can come to some sort of agreement,” Mayor Andy Ryder said.
Ryder said the project needs to move forward to accommodate truck traffic along Hogum Bay Road, as well as to address what he called a “high accident interchange” at Hogum Bay Road and Willamette Drive.
Egger said the city expects to go out to bid on the project this year. It would upgrade Hogum Bay Road from Marvin Road to just south of the Target distribution center. Once complete, the street will have north and south lanes, as well as a center turn lane, Egger said.
Overall, the improvements will help move traffic more efficiently, he said.
The city already has acquired 18 rights-of-way for the project.