Eminent doman battle over golf course ends

MISSOURI CITY, TX The settlement discussions followed City Council authorization on May 17 to staff and outside counsel to negotiate a settlement of the City's eminent domain proceeding to acquire the Quail Valley Golf Course property.

"This action is in the best interest of our city," said Mayor Allen Owen. "We are beginning design of the tennis and recreation center and the clubhouse at Quail Valley golf course, and now we can move forward confidently with those two projects."

Owen pointed out that the two parties working to reach an agreed settlement means that the eminent domain issue and the property value would not be questioned in the future, and there would be no additional court proceedings and legal fees.

"The former owners had the property appraised at approximately $14 million. When the City took possession of the property in 2008, it was on the tax rolls for $6.59 million. Overall, we believe we negotiated a fair value for both parties," said Owen.

The eminent domain issue began in 2007 when City officials became aware of the condition of the golf course, specifically the extreme neglect of the golf property, the concern of its possible sale to developers, the negative effect on property values, and the loss of green space and recreational opportunities. The decline of the maintenance and operation of the property, located in the heart of Missouri City, posed detrimental effects on surrounding subdivisions and the City as a whole.

On March 3, 2008, following positive input from a 100-person citizen committee, City Council authorized eminent domain proceedings for the Quail Valley Country Club property. A hearing on June 24, 2008 of court-appointed commissioners determined the property value at $3.1 million. Three days later on June 27, the City delivered the $3.1 million check to the court for the golf course acquisition and took possession of the property. A tentative trial date was set for September 8, 2009, pending mediation proceedings. The parties reached no agreement during mediation and the case was continued and the court date rescheduled several times. "We have had strong citizen support from throughout our community on this project," said Owen. "By a 72 percent vote, citizens from the entire city approved a $17.5 bond referendum in November 2008, for use in property acquisition and redevelopment. City Council is very pleased we can get on with expanding recreation opportunities for our residents."

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