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City of S'side moves to condemn land in Paul conflict

In a bid to cover its bases, the city of Sunnyside will initiate condemnation proceedings against a 15-foot wide strip of land along South First Street to which city officials and Prosser contractor Tom Paul both claim rights.

The strip of land is taking on added importance since the city of Sunnyside is planning to widen South First Street, and will need access to the strip to complete the project

The city council approved the measure last night, which authorizes the filing of condemnation proceedings against Paul in Yakima County Superior Court.

City Manager Bob Stockwell noted that in taking the action the city still maintains that it already owns the land.

In prepared comments to council, City Attorney Mark Kunkler said the city needs to take the action in case the Superior Court finds that the 15-foot strip is owned by Paul.

In that event, the city would need to access the property through eminent domain, which would require the city to pay a fair market price to Paul for the land.

Kunkler said later that one of the city's first steps at this point is to conduct an appraisal of the land in case it needs to eventually be purchased through eminent domain.

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