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Condemnation public hearing set

FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors recently decided to move forward with attempts to condemn a small parcel of land after discussing the matter in closed session.

The land in question is just under one acre owned by Linda Rudacille, and County Attorney Dan Whitten said the condemnation would allow for a turnaround point in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s project.

Whitten said Rudacille declined a $5,000 offer based off the land assessment for public use of the property. He noted that eight other parcels of land were needed for construction, which all of the owners donated to the county.

In order for VDOT to begin construction, he said 50 feet of right-of-way is required.

“They’re not actually taking the property…they just need right-of-way. And then we also need a small temporary construction easement,” he said.

The paving is part of a rural addition project, which is a VDOT program that upgrades locally maintained roads to the minimum standards that allow the state to oversee maintenance. The construction will also include replacement of a box culvert to allow passing over a creek. Whitten said construction was planned to begin this summer but the effort to gain use of the Rudacille property has delayed matters.

He noted that the paving will extend to the entrance of Rudacille’s property and “it will actually improve the property value of her house.”

“We tried to express to her, you know, this is a very reasonable offer. We’re not taking any land, all we’re getting is right-of-way and easement,” he said.

He added that the construction would not include removing any trees from her property, encroachment on the property, or blocking of a driveway.

If the supervisors approve the condemnation after the public hearing, the matter will go before a circuit court judge. If the judge allows condemnation, Whitten said the county would be able to proceed with the paving. At a future date, he said, a price for use of the land would be determined.

Whitten added that Rudacille can accept the offer before the public hearing or before the matter goes to court.

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