PASCO — A judge allowed Franklin County to take control of land needed for a proposed project to extend Dent Road and Road 100 north of the Pasco city limits.
The county filed a petition in April to condemn several land parcels needed for a county-approved project that is expected to accommodate population growth, relieve vehicle congestion and improve access to Interstate 182.
Franklin County Superior Court Judge Craig Matheson rejected Thursday Lee Eickmeyer's claim that the county has no need or justification for the project, which will tear up his farmland.
Eickmeyer and his wife own several of the affected properties.
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The court is not here to second guess the county, Matheson said. The court's concern is to see if the county followed due process to determine the necessity of the road, he said.
He accepted the arguments of Amy Harris, Franklin County's deputy prosecuting attorney, that the county had the necessary authority to make a decision about locating the road and that it was not done with a malicious intent or fraudulently.
He also granted the county the use of additional portions on the properties where others may have easement rights.
Eickmeyer's attorney, Steve Osborne, said he may appeal the decision or pursue talks with the county for appropriate compensation.
County officials had been negotiating earlier with Eickmeyer but couldn't reach an acceptable agreement. The county's offer didn't match what his appraiser thought the land's value was, Eickmeyer said.
He said his fight is not about money. "It's about right or wrong," he said.
The extension is not at the right spot, he said.
He disagrees with the plans for the north/south part of the Road 100 extension. It makes no sense because neighbors don't need it, he said.
He said he would prefer to have an east/west extension that would be more amenable for planned growth.
Matheson said both roads are going to be needed in the future. "I don't have the authority to disregard (the county's) finding."
-- Pratik Joshi: 582-1541; firstname.lastname@example.org