Saturday September 26th, 2020 9:34PM

Gainesville's possible use of Power of Eminent Domain delayed until next month

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

GAINESVILLE – Efforts by the City of Gainesville to acquire the property at 628 E.E. Butler Parkway, including the possible exercise of the Power of Eminent Domain, if necessary, will continue for at least another month.

On Tuesday evening the Gainesville City Council agreed to table the matter until its September 15th meeting.

At issue is the site of Pepper’s Market.  The city says the parcel is part of its midtown redevelopment plan; property owner Rick Gailey of Clermont says he isn’t ready to sell the property he has owned for over twenty years and has called the threat to use Eminent Domain “an abuse of power”.

The matter which first came before the city council in mid-April has been tabled numerous times, primarily because COVID-19 concerns have prevented everyone involved from attending scheduled public hearings, but that delay might actually be helping the matter.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey said at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting, “I’m coming tonight and I’m asking for a month table…but don’t take that as a sign that things aren’t going well.”

Lackey says negotiations with the owner are actually going well.  “The reason we need a little bit longer is we’ve agreed with the property owner that we need a little bit of survey work to be done out there, so it takes a little time for that to happen.”

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