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County needed to buy land for project

August 19, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

To build a better Maugans Avenue, Washington County bought part or all of about 45 properties, said Joseph Kuhna, the real property administrator for the county's Division of Public Works.

The county spent $2.7 million on land it permanently obtained and on various easements, county records show.

Most owners weren't happy at first about giving up land, but grew to accept it, Kuhna said.

The county tried to be fair. "We weren't looking to force anybody's hand," he said.

Maugans Avenue resident Mike Alderton praised the county for how it handled his property transaction.

Under the new configuration, there won't be a shoulder in front of his house, so backing out of his driveway could have been a challenge. But, he said, "the county gave us $2,500 (to build) a turnaround."

Several others landowners in that area got thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, or more, from the county.

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A chart of property acquisitions for the project shows that the costliest was $368,000 that the county gave MEM Properties for land at 18519 Maugans Ave.

Kuhna said that was for land for a stormwater management pond near the Maugans Avenue Car Wash.

The chart shows that the county paid Asad and Velda Ghattas about $355,000 for land.

The county bought four homes to get land for the road project, Kuhna said.

The most expensive of those four transactions, the acquisition chart shows, was $191,000 for a home at 13529 Spriggs Road, plus $53,000 for the former owner to relocate.

Kuhna said federal law requires that moving costs be paid.

Moving costs for the other three home purchases totaled about $9,000, according to the chart.

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