Easements needed for Spruce StreetResidents will be approached to temporarily provide land for project.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
Improvements on Spruce Street will take place “sometime in the next two summers,” according to Public Works Director Tim McGannon.
Before the work can begin, the South Dakota Department of Transportation will negotiate with landowners so the city can obtain temporary easements for grading the property.
“We’re building curb and gutter where there is now ditches, so we need to do grading,” McGannon said. “Once we’re done, it’ll be their property.”
The city will rebuild Spruce Street from Rowley Street to Ohlman Street, he said. In addition to adding curb and gutter, a center turn lane will be added. It will be an asphalt-paved street, McGannon said.
On Monday, the City Council approved an agreement with the SDDOT for appraisal, appraisal review and negotiation work for Spruce Street right of way involving 17 landowners.
McGannon said while the project is budgeted for less than $2 million, he has no idea how much the landowners along the street will receive for granting the city the temporary easements. “I really don’t know what it will cost, or if it will cost,” he said. “That’s why we hired DOT.” Joel Gengler, the DOT’s program manager of the right-of-way and utility relocation coordination office in Pierre, said the department does this kind of work fairly often, especially when federal dollars are involved.
“They can request us to act as kind of a wing of their business process to make sure that all the right of way gets acquired through codified federal regulations,” Gengler said.
He said appraisers will approach landowners to request donations of the temporary easements. That would allow the city to use the budgeted amount of money just for the street project.
“If they don’t wish to donate, they do have a right to an appraisal and receive what is known as just compensation,” Gengler said. “It’s just a voluntary thing. They have the process explained to them.”
The compensation depends on the value of the land, he said, and the DOT assesses recent sales and bases evaluations on other recent sales in the area.
For the most part, it’s a small piece of land for most property owners, Gengler said.
“Typically, yes it would be a narrow strip,” he said.
It may be wider in spots to make room for a pole or pipe or other piece of infrastructure, Gengler said, but the easements are canceled once the work moves past that address.