CORNELIA - During a brief called meeting Monday afternoon, the Cornelia City Commission voted to move forward with the acquisition of property it says is needed for the city's new reservoir through the use of eminent domain.
The commission voted to adopt a resolution authorizing City Attorney Steve Campbell to "exercise its powers of eminent domain in the acquisition of certain interests in property for the City of Cornelia Water Reservoir Project."
The property is owned by Wayne E. Quarles and Connie C. Quarles and is located adjacent to the site of the city's planned water treatment plant off Camp Creek Road.
"It is further resolved that payment of just and adequate compensation therefore be made to the person or persons entitled to such payment," the resolution states.
"For about four years the city's been in the planning process for a new reservoir and water plant," City Manager Donald Anderson said at the conclusion of the meeting. "This is an 18-acre tract of land directly behind the 16-acre piece of property that the city already owns on Camp Creek Road. Given the lay of the land and the proximity to our property, we feel it's the ideal location for the reservoir, so we've been trying to negotiate with the property owner for several years. It's not going as hoped, so we're having to take this route."
Asked for a timeframe on the process, Anderson explained what Campbell told commissioners during closed session.
"I believe our attorney announced he will be filing the paperwork within 10 days," Anderson said. "Once we file, according to him, then we have a right to go on the property."
Anderson said the city is awaiting approval from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division on it reservoir plans, so the eminent domain process doesn't hold up progress.
"It's falling right in line with our timeframe," Anderson said.
Anderson said the new reservoir could be completed in 2015, though the overall project timetable is 18 months.
No price for the property was discussed during open meeting Monday.