City must use eminent domain for Hughes Ranch project

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The final parcels of land needed for the Hughes Ranch Road expansion will be acquired by eminent domain, Pearland City Council decided.

Council voted on Dec. 16 to proceed with acquiring the property by exercising eminent domain, the power of federal, state or local government to take private property for public use following payment for such property.

“We’re at a stalemate at this point,” City Attorney Darin Coker told the council last Monday.

The value of the property has been agreed upon, he said, but “in this particular case, the individual doesn’t recognize the city as a governmental entity, and there are some challenges associated with that.”

Once the right-of-way acquisition is complete, the project will be ready for final plan reviews and bidding. Once begun, construction is expected to take between 18 and 24 months.

Hughes Ranch will be widened to a four-lane boulevard with a raised median, with 8-foot sidewalks, on both sides, lighting and landscaping. Major subdivisions along the corridor will have sound walls between the right-of-way and the residential lots.

The Pearland Economic Development Corp. will move its offices into the third floor of the city building in the midst of renovations to the 30-year-old facility.

The PEDC, which has its own funding and budget, will be housed in City Hall in what is essentially a lease agreement. City Council on Monday approved a reimbursement agreement with the PEDC for $578,391 for construction associated with the renovation project. Council also authorized an Administrative Services Contract with the PEDC in the amount of $156,897.50, for reimbursements associated with services provided by the City to the PEDC.

Story by Nicole Jones

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