Pending signatures, issue won’t go to court

The city of Independence and Kidwell Enterprises may have reached a settlement agreement Friday over eminent domain dispute on the Little Blue Parkway.

The case, which centered on the value of two parcels of land the city took in order to build the parkway and connecting streets, was scheduled to start before a jury Tuesday.

But Independence City Attorney Allen Garner told The Examiner Friday a settlement had been reached, pending the signature of all parties.

“We believe we have an agreement,” Garner said. “But we have to pass a piece of paper back and forth until we get the signatures.”

Garner said the case has been taken off the court docket for Tuesday.

He did not disclose the settlement amount.

Independence is plaintiff in the case that dates back to 2007. Kidwell Enterprises filed in August of last year two separate exceptions to rulings by state condemnation commissioners which awarded damages to Kidwell in the amount of $351,272 and more than $1.4 million for the respective parcels of land needed to connect Jackson Drive to the future Little Blue Parkway.

Kidwell Enterprises believed the value of the land was much higher, and was reportedly prepared to call appraisers to testify at the trial who supported their view. Reached Thursday for comment, before news of the settlement, Kidwell attorney Tony Gosserand declined to comment on the trial.

“I don’t want to affect the jury pool,” Gosserand said.

The case is the second of two involving the city and Kidwell.

In the first case, condemnation commissioners in October awarded Kidwell Enterprises a total of $147,000 for two parcels of land the city needed to begin work on the 37th Terrace extension from Jackson Drive to Little Blue Parkway.

In the latest case Independence City Attorney Allen Garner said the city is acquiring 314,667 square feet of right-of-way, 169,435 square feet of temporary easement, 215,501 square feet of non-economic remnant and 51,286 square feet of permanent easement. Some of the items overlap, Garner said.

“In all matters of acquisition the city attempts to negotiate with property owners,” Garner said of the dispute. “The only issue going to trial is one of appropriate compensation for the land needed for the public improvement.”