City buys property from Tisdale

Published 2:28 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The City of Andalusia has abandoned its condemnation proceedings against a local landowner and opted to purchase almost two acres instead.

1207-ditchCity attorney Mark Christensen told council members that the agreement was worked out at a condemnation hearing in probate court last week. The city council agreed Tuesday to pay $17,000 per acre for 1.68 acres, or a total of $28,560. The payment will be applied to the mortgage on the property, the attorney said.

In October, the council agreed to begin a condemnation process against property owner John Tisdale after the city failed to get the easement it needed to repair Devonwood Drive. The street has been partially closed since it was damaged by flooding last December.

Mayor Earl Johnson told the council then that the city has access to $120,000 in grant funds to repair the damage. However, the grant requires that the work be finished by Jan. 6, 2017.

Christensen told council members last week that the time dictated in the condemnation process could take another month, and prevent completion of the project by the deadline.

He said Tisdale was present at the condemnation hearing, and told another attorney present that he would like for the city to include narrow strips of land on either sides of the portion of the property it planned to take, and work out an agreement.

The parties then constructed a handwritten agreement that was accepted by all parties, contingent upon council approval.

Johnson said last week he believes the city should purchase the property for two reasons.

“We are out of time,” he said. “If we don’t act, we could lose our grant.”

Before the council began the condemnation process, Tisdale told The Star-News that the need for an easement had only been mentioned to him in passing.

Tuesday, Tisdale did not immediately respond to emails and text messages seeking comment.