Opinion

July 30, 2013

Letter: Doing the right thing: A Haig Mill Lake story

(Continued)

Barbara Boyd

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Dalton Utilities responds

A portion of Mr. McBrayer’s property was acquired through a condemnation action filed Jan. 22, 1991. During the hearing in this matter, Mr. McBrayer contended that the taking of his property was not for a public use and that his property was not needed for that use. It was determined by the court that the property was for a proper public purpose and was necessary for that purpose. Mr. McBrayer asked for a jury trial to determine the amount of just and adequate compensation to be awarded and also filed an exception to the initial ruling on the condemned property. On April 3, 1991, the Superior Court entered its judgment and denied Mr. McBrayer’s exception to its previous ruling. On March 23, 1994, the Court dismissed Mr. McBrayer’s appeal. The final judgment has not been appealed or modified.

The claims by Mr. McBrayer’s family for an easement of access and for damages for impairment of his access are barred by the final condemnation judgment. Mr. McBrayer’s family members, through different attorneys, have made several prior demands over the last decade for an easement of access and for damages for impairment of access to Mr. McBrayer’s property. Because there is no legal basis for granting an easement of access, Dalton Utilities has refused these demands.

Apart from the legal issues involved, Dalton Utilities cannot allow open access to the water supply contained in the Haig Mill Reservoir due to very important security concerns. The importance of security for water supply has increased considerably since Sept. 11, 2001. The Haig Mill Reservoir is not a flood containment lake but rather a small body water supply for the residents of Dalton that would be easily subject to contamination if public access were to be allowed. This concern is one of the primary reasons why public use of the reservoir for recreation has not been allowed.

In every discussion with Mr. McBrayer and the representatives of his estate, Dalton Utilities has offered to purchase the 11 acres at fair market value. This offer still stands.

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