Updated

Landowners sue over Longmire extension

By SOMMER HAMILTON

Eagle Staff Writer

Two College Station property owners are suing the city over a $141,000 lien assessed in the summer to help pay for paving a half-mile extension of Longmire Drive.

JK Development, an investment partnership of area residents Jim Jackson and Kenneth Neatherlin, filed suit in September after the city failed to address their concerns over the bill for the roadwork, Jackson said Friday.

He said the law gave him only 15 days to either file suit or accept the city’s assessment, so he chose to sue.

“I thought there were some errors in process and things to address to be corrected and this is the only way I knew how,” Jackson said.

State law allows municipalities to charge landholders for infrastructure, such as a road, when the city can prove it enhances the land’s value.

The City Council in August assessed four landowners along the proposed Longmire extension from Graham Road to Eagle Avenue a total of $550,000. That will pave the road — planned to run along or through their properties — and pay for just over half the expected $1 million roadway construction.

The city paid JK Development $27,824 this year to acquire about an acre of its 14-acre site where the Longmire extension will cut through.

City Attorney Harvey Cargill said Friday the road will benefit all the property owners, citing an appraisal that indicated JK’s land value would be enhanced by at least $141,000 with the addition of a major roadway.

“The appraiser tests what happens when you open up this shiny new road and, in this case, said the property is enhanced in value,” he said.

The suit has been moved to U.S. District Court in Houston. No hearing date has been set.

Longmire will become a major thoroughfare for the south part of the city, connecting Barron Road to Harvey Mitchell Parkway South and providing an outlet for the booming residential neighborhoods south of Barron.

Jackson spoke to the council during an August hearing on the issue just before the lien was approved, asking if the city expected landowners to pay for the roadway even though its most direct benefit is to residents and taxpayers in the area.

JK’s land will be split by Longmire into a 12-acre site and a 2-acre strip that Jackson said now is too awkwardly shaped to develop. The partners have owned the land as an investment for more than decade but never had firm plans to develop it, he said.

Terrance Dill, a College Station lawyer representing JK Development, said Friday his clients’ land isn’t going to be enhanced with a busy major roadway cutting through it. No potential homeowners are going to want to live along Longmire, he said.

“This was a city decision that they wanted to extend Longmire but they didn’t want to pay for it,” Dill said. “Instead, they tax the property owners. It’s grossly unfair.”

• Sommer Hamilton’s e-mail address is shamilton@theeagle.com.

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