Posted: Sunday, December 6, 2009 5:00 pm | Loading…
Landowners near Casper are challenging Wyoming’s power to condemn their land through eminent domain as part of a state plan to build a road through the area.
In responses filed last month, the landowners contend the Wyoming Transportation Commission failed to act legally. A request has also been filed for a separate jury trial to determine appropriate compensation for taking the land.
The state has proposed the 7.5-mile West Belt Loop Road west of Casper to connect U.S. Highway 20/26 to Wyoming Highway 220 to route commercial traffic around the city.
In September the state exercised eminent domain against Robert and Cynthia Schlidt, and Robert and Judith Bradshaw, because its efforts to buy their land were unsuccessful.
The Bradshaws have had a ranching operation in the area for decades, and the commission wants to permanently condemn about 25 acres for the road.
“The construction of a new highway across the Bradshaws’ ranch will cause harm to the remaining ranchlands owned by the Bradshaws and the Bradshaws’ ranching operation, including making some of the land inaccessible and unusable for traditional ranching purposes,” according to a response filed Nov. 13 by their attorney, Peter Nicolaysen.
The commission wants to permanently condemn about 26 acres belonging to the Schlidts.
Their attorney, Pat Crank, contends in a response filed Nov. 10 that the state didn’t follow changes in Wyoming law in 2007 to compute the fair market value of condemned property.
The Schlidts also say the commission and the Wyoming Department of Transportation have obtained no environmental reviews or federal permits for the project.
Information from: Casper Star-Tribune – Casper, http://www.casperstartribune.net