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Property owner ready to take county to court over land grab

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By Brian Slattery

BOLIVIA—Boiling Spring Lakes property owner Dan Lichty is ready to take Brunswick County to court over eminent domain.

Lichty lost one of his lots at the corner of West North Shore Drive and Lake Mount Road, behind the Kopp’s II convenience store, to Brunswick County to install a pump station for the Boiling Spring Lakes wastewater collection project.

Lichty says the condemnation killed his development plans.

He bought 10 lots in the same area intending to package them for commercial development.

Now that the main property is a sewage pump station, he doesn’t expect to sell the other lots. He wants the county to buy him out.

Since December Lichty has been in negotiations with the county, but he attended county commissioners’ March 18 meeting to state publicly he did not believe the talks were done in good faith.

“(You) say I should not (change) my demands because of good-faith negotiations. I feel good-faith negotiations ended when the county first (knew) the lift station was to be put on my property and did not notify me. Why do you have to put a lift station on the middle of three of my best lots?” Lichty said during public comment at the board meeting.

He said the county asked him to provide alternate locations for the lift station, knowing full well they would not accept any of them because the permitting process and contracts had already been approved for his main lot.

“I feel good-faith negotiations ended when the county took my property away that I borrowed $22,000 on my house to get, and the county put $3,000 in an account somewhere,” he said.

The county estimated $3,000 to be just compensation for the taking of the property.

“I feel there is no such thing as good-faith negotiations when you recognize (you’re) dealing with the (big) bully government … that think they can say or do anything with no consequences,” he said.

“My lawyer has filed … for a trial by jury. He felt I would get less money because of his expenses and recommended not to do it. I told him to do it. I am not going to be run over without a fight.”

Lichty also listed restitution he would seek in court, which included:

·      The county to pay $35,000 for the pump station site.

·      A vegetation vision barrier be planted around the outside of the fence surrounding the lift station.

·      No easements except for the 50-by-60-foot area of the lift station.

·      If the lift station is to be abandoned, all evidence of the lift station will be removed and the easement cancelled within 90 days.

·      If a drinkable well water supply cannot be established to any of his properties, the county will provide drinkable water to that property at its expense.

·      The county waives any fees on all properties presently owned by Lichty.

·      The county install one sewer tap upon owner’s request and issuance of a building permit for any properties presently owned by Lichty.

·      The county will pay any increased tax value added to the property because of the lift station.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.