Searching for common ground in land dispute
Unless the two sides come to an agreement, some county property owners and the Falcon Lakes housing development will settle a land dispute in Leavenworth County District Court.
City officials hope the disagreement between the developer and the property owners doesn't go to court.
"We don't want it to go to condemnation," City Council member Chris Garcia said. "It takes time and money, so we hope to come to an agreement before it goes to court."
Falcon Lakes is a 450- to- 500 home development located on Kansas Highway 7, just north of Basehor. The development, technically outside the city limits, was annexed by the council in March.
During the Basehor City Council meeting Monday, Oct. 15, the council agreed to proceed with condemnation proceedings should further negotiations fail with two property owners that have not granted land easements to Falcon Lakes.
City officials said the land easements would be used for the construction of a development sewer line.
The land needed by the developer, approximately two-and-a half acres, would be used for the construction of a force main that would tie into the Basehor Wastewater Treatment Facility.
To meet Kansas state law requirements, a resolution must be approved by the council declaring the necessity to condemn the land. After the resolution is approved, the council would then pass a resolution allowing the city attorney to proceed with the condemnation process.
If the condemnation process goes to court, the disputed land would have to be appraised by a committee appointed by the court. The cost for the appraisers service as well as court costs will not be absorbed by the city.
"We have an agreement with Falcon Lakes that they will be taking care of all the costs," Garcia said.
Although representatives from the development were not in attendance at Monday night's meeting, Falcon Lakes owner Rustom Ferzandi has said previously he was eager to resolve the situation in a way that would benefit everyone.
Garcia agreed with Ferzandi and said negotiations between the developer and the residents will continue in hopes of finding that solution.
"We are kind of happy that there has been some settlement," Garcia said. "Two or three weeks ago we were looking at a lot more people who hadn't agreed yet. Now there are only a couple and we hope we can get it settled without going to court."