Jury Awards $341,500 to Boone County Landowners

March 12, 2012

A Boone County jury on Wednesday awarded two Arkansas landowners $341,500 for 29.87 acres taken in fee or encumbered by permanent easements which had been condemned by the Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority to construct a water intake and treatment facility on Bull Shoals Lake. In 2010, Ozark Mountain condemned a portion of Greg Giles’ and Karen Hughes’ 809.82 acres located in the Lead Hill area, resulting in the loss of lake access for the remaining 779.95 acres of Mr. Giles’ and Ms. Hughes’ property. Of the 29.87 acres condemned, 20.36 acres were taken by Ozark Mountain in fee to construct a 15 acre water treatment facility site and for buffer areas around the intake facility. Another 9.51 acres were encumbered by permanent easements held by Ozark Mountain to construct and use roadways, water transmission pipelines, and electrical distribution lines to service their facility.

Michael B. Phillips and Brandon Moffitt, attorneys for the landowners, had asked the jury for $468,000 for the takings based on an appraisal by Glen Carlson of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and a conceptual development plan prepared by civil engineer Tim Sorey of Sand Creek Engineering in Bentonville, Arkansas. Ozark Mountain offered Mr. Giles and Mrs. Hughes $67,000 for acquisition of the 29.87 acres needed for construction of the project. Ozark Mountain based its valuation on an appraisal conducted by Tom Reed of Reed & Associates, Inc., in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

After three days of testimony, the three men and nine women jury deliberated for approximately an hour and a half late Wednesday afternoon before returning with their verdict. Eleven jurors voted to pay Mr. Giles and Ms. Hughes $341,500 for their property. In a civil jury trial, only nine of twelve jurors must agree on a verdict.

Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority’s intake and treatment facility project will supply water from Bull Shoals Lake to several cities, towns, and water associations in Boone, Newton, Marion, and Searcy Counties.

Michael B. Phillips and Brandon Moffitt are members of Moffitt & Phillips, PLLC, a law firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, representing property owners across the state in condemnation proceedings, and are dedicated to advancing the cause of private property ownership rights in Arkansas.

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