Hennepin County to forcibly acquire land for library

  • Article by: Rochelle Olson , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 17, 2013 - 9:40 PM

The board’s vote, part of a plan to replace the crumbling Webber Park Library, follows years of talks with a family.

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mplsjoejoDec. 17, 13 6:02 PM

You would think that the county could have taken other steps to avoid this. It is something off base to think the county will just be able to acquire a multitude of properties without any problems given they are only giving market value for the properties. So now the county will force condemnation of the property (which is terrible being the property is in good shape and livable) so that they can force the sale. This approach is a real dirty way to go about it. Sorry a library doesn't meet the muster of eminent domain nor does a hospital, school, or university. Now a Road, Rail, etc is something for eminent domain. Local governments have taken this too far and it needs to Stop.

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actualreaderDec. 17, 13 6:09 PM

Well, yes, that is a "dream" -- to get a $1 million payout from taxpayers. I guess playing chicken with Hennepin County doesn't always pay off.

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DufferHDec. 17, 13 6:22 PM

I understand the county's desire for the land. And I can understand why they're seeking it through eminent domain. But what does the fact that the Hollers own "a second, lavishly landscaped house nearby on tree-lined Washburn Avenue N." have to do with anything?

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omgurdensDec. 17, 13 6:31 PM

Agree Duffer. I looked into MLS a little bit, looks like the Hollers run their business out of the commercial building on the property, and there's a duplex on the property as well that they rent out. For two buildings, three lots total, their investment property and their livelihood, I'd say it might be closer to $1 million than $275k.

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minnguy34Dec. 17, 13 6:47 PM

If Hennepin County is willing to do this for a library, I don't see why they don't use it to buy off the townhome owners that are next to the proposed SW light rail line. Doing that would cost a lot less than paying an extra $160 million dollars for a shallow tunnel to appease them.

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georgina17Dec. 17, 13 6:53 PM

Omgurdens: Where did you learn that the county is planning to buy all 3 lots? I didn't see it in this article, and didn't understand that from prior?

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georgina17Dec. 17, 13 7:09 PM

Omgurdens: Hennepin County property tax records show that the Hollers have only 1 property, with 2 subrecords, total 2 buildings, with total market value less than the figure in the article. If they believe the property is worth 4 times as much, they should be arguing to the county that they owe a whole lot more property tax.

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Oglethorpe2Dec. 17, 13 7:23 PM

Libraries and retail bank locations are both a thing of the past. I predict Hennepin County will be closing all of these buildings or repurposing them within a decade. Can't these people figure out a smarter way to spend $15 million?

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jbpaperDec. 17, 13 7:28 PM

This is a tough one, especially with the limited information provided in the article. On one hand, I don't think eminent domain should be used to get land for a library. I would think there are plenty of suitable lots available. On the other hand, they had the house for sale before the county was interested. If they took it off in the market in order to get more money from the taxpayers, that is pretty low move. It would be nice if the reporter gave some more info about the timeline of the house being for sale and the county saying they were interested in it. Would also be nice to know what they were asking for it.

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dtmonkeyboyDec. 17, 13 7:44 PM

Actually eminent domain was designed exactly for this type of situation. Without it, any development by a government can be held hostage by one land owner that decides to hold out for -say $1 million. The county tried in good faith to buy the property for 6 years. But it is on record that the homeowners would only sell if they got $1 million. Never mind that they had it for sale in 2007 for a fraction of that price.I say start the proceedings and let it drag on so they can never sell - unless it is to the county. Serves them right

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