City Commission postpones action on condemnation resolution

Beverly Bryant - March 27, 2018 4:02 pm

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners voted Monday evening to delay action on a resolution calling for the condemnation of a house in the 300 block of South Fourth Street.

The city has been negotiating to purchase the property, along with all other properties in the block bounded by Walnut Avenue, Oklahoma Avenue, Third and Fourth Streets for the construction of a new Police Department building. The block is immediately east of the current Public Safety Center.

Bobby and Haley Goddard are the current owners of the property known as 320 S. Fourth Street. Their property is a parcel of land in the southeast corner of the block and the only land not currently owned by the city or under negotiated contract for the city to purchase.

The land was purchased by the Goddards in August of 2016 for $25,000. The city’s legal staff says there have been minimal improvements made, if any, since its purchase. The property is unoccupied, but has a structure in place.

City Attorney Michael Vanderburg said Monday that the Goddards’ house is not connected to utilities and that the city has offered the family more than twice their purchase price, which they rejected.

“The owners want more than six figures,” Vanderburg said.

He said the property has been appraised and he recommended approval of the resolution of necessity. He said the city would pay either  the appraised value for the home or a value set by a jury at a condemnation hearing in district court.

Owner Haley Goddard spoke with commissioners during discussion on the resolution and said the house does have electric service and the family has plans to set up plumbing while they renovate the home.

Haley Goddard said the issue is a “difference of negotiation.”

She said she and her husband have not received a written appraisal and  there has been nothing given to them until writing until she received the notice of the condemnation resolution.

“We rejected an offer that was verbal only,” she said. “There was discussion of relocating  the home but no real plan in place.”

Vanderburg then told commissioners the legal staff had offered the family twice their purchase price and their response was six figures above that amount.

Goddard said the home was purchased as a family home but the family was working slowly on it since their purchase because they felt no immediacy before the city moved to buy it.

“I was pregnant with my fourth child and my husband has been working at the refinery on a turn-around,” she said. “We had a meeting with (City Manager) Mr. Stephenson and the attorneys and told them we had new fixtures for the house and a survey. We had ordered trees on the internet and have been working on it as possible.”

Vanderburg said the most recent correspondence the city had with the Goddards was dated March 1. He said they purchased the home in 2016 and could move the house across the street on another parcel with three lots, like the one they currently have the house on.

“Their demand of $175,000 was rejected,” he said.

The house is 2,000 square feet on three city lots, Haley Goddard said. It was vacant and foreclosed on when they purchased it, she said.

Mayor Homer Nicholson asked how the Goddards arrived at their demand price, and Goddard said the average price of a home in Ponca City is $67 a square foot.

“The house is not for sale,” she said.

Nicholson said that the number the Goddards are seeking is for a finished house. He said the property across the street is vacant and for sale.

Goddard said it would cost $30,000 to $50,000 to move  the house, not including the cost of placing utilities on the property.

“I’ve never even been given the exact address of this property,” she said.

Vanderburg told commissioners it would take a week or two to prepare to go to court on the resolution to condemn, and negotiating an offer could take 60 to 90 days.

“The appraiser said the value of the house is $50,000, and they turned it down,” the attorney said.

City Manager Craig Stephenson told the commissioners he would prepare a contract with an offer to the Goddards within a certain number of days, but would recommend starting the process to condemn to keep the process going.

“These can be concurrent processes,” he said. “We would send a written contract by certified mail.”

Commissioner Lanita Chapman made a motion to continue — or delay — the condemnation process until commissioners can discuss it at an April board  meeting after the Goddards receive the contract and make a decision on accepting it. It was seconded by Commissioner Ryan Austin and approved unanimously by the board.



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