The Nevada Irrigation District authorized its top employee to notify two property owners that eminent domain may be used to complete a project designed for more efficient delivery to thousands of treated water customers.
The NID board of directors voted 3-1 (with Scott Miller dissenting) to allow NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger to notify two Nevada City property owners located near the intersection of White Oak Way and Newtown Road that eminent domain can be used to complete the Newtown Canal Partial Encasement Project.
“The concern is that there is not enough water where the ditch resides,” said NID board Chairman John Drew during Wednesday’s regular meeting.
At least one property owner expressed dissatisfaction with how NID has managed the project process.
“I have concerns with the district, and my concerns have not been reasonably answered,” said Patricia Dunne, who owns one of the properties where NID has proposed a pipeline construction. “I am not opposed to the pipeline, but I am opposed to how it will be constructed.”
Dunne said the pipeline will create drainage issues all over her property, with a potential to cause significant flooding. Also, the tenants who rent a unit on the property will likely leave during the construction phase of the project, and Dunne has questions about how the pipeline will be maintained.
NID board Director Nick Wilcox said the project is in its third version after the board authorized it in October 2010 and that employing eminent domain on the two properties presents the “path of least resistance.”
“This way had the fewest amount of people objecting, and out of deference to the majority, this is the chosen path and it needs to get done,” Wilcox said.
Miller objected to using eminent domain, saying the public dislikes the method.
Eminent domain describes the power of public agencies to take private property for the purpose of common benefit while giving the owner fair market compensation.
Miller said NID would be better served to place the pipeline near Newtown Road, in a county easement, which would avert the need to exercise eminent domain.
Drew said changing the parameters of the project would be expensive and that NID needed to move forward with present plans.
The project calls for the widening of the majority of the nearly 2,000-foot Newtown Canal segment, along with creating a berm to provide for maintenance access, according to NID. Two sections of the canal will be encased in a pipeline, which is the portion of the project that will affect the two aforementioned properties.
The project is designed to confront problems with watertight material, erosion, integrity of the canal, a lack of maintenance access and a dearth of capacity along the most critical portions of the canal.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.