Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 1:30 p.m - December 11, 2012
December 11, 2012 Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #10

Eminent Domain: 17th Street West (Memphis Road), Palmetto – Phase II (U.S. 41 to Business 41), Parcels 105 and 705 (Janus Properties, LLC); Approval of Settlement


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Rodney C. Wade, Assistant County Attorney / Sandi Murphy, Ext. 3750

Action Requested

Approval of settlement with Janus Properties, LLC, the landowner of Parcels 105 and 705, in the amount of $21,649 for the full settlement of reasonable and necessary expert fees and costs incurred, non-monetary attorney’s fees, and supplemental attorney’s fees and costs in accordance with Sections 73.091 and 73.092, Florida Statutes, in the eminent domain case of Manatee County v. Palmetto Mini-Storage, etc., et al., Case No. 2007-CA-6995, Parcels 105 and 705.

Adopt Resolution B-13-018 amending the Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 in the amount of $23,000 for the 17th Street West Project to cover settlement costs, related attorney’s fees, and overhead in acquiring necessary parcels of land.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Sections 73.091 and 73.092, Florida Statutes, require the condemning authority to pay the landowner’s reasonable and necessary expert witness fees and costs and statutory attorney’s fees to the landowner’s counsel.  State Department of Transportation v. Nassau Partners, Ltd., 878 So.2d 1286 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004), holding that a cost hearing concerning the amount a condemning authority is required to pay property owner’s expert witnesses is a supplemental proceeding allowing the court to award additional attorney’s fees to the owner’s attorney.

Background Discussion

Manatee County previously acquired Parcel 105, Fee Simple, and Parcel 705, Temporary Construction Easement for three (3) years, from landowner Janus Properties, LLC, as part of the 17th Street West Road Improvement Project by Stipulated Order of Taking on November 29, 2007.  As a result of negotiations, the landowner agreed to settle as full compensation for the acquisition of the property in the amount of $31,000, and statutory attorney’s fees pursuant to Section 73.092, Florida Statutes, in the amount of $7,590 by Stipulated Final Judgment entered March 19, 2010.

The mortgage company, Century Bank, filed its claim against the settlement funds for the valuation of the property.  As a result of negotiations, the landowner and mortgage company reached a settlement as to all apportionment issues by Stipulated Final Order on Apportionment as to Parcels 105 and 705 entered October 27, 2010.

In an eminent domain action, the County is required to pay the landowner’s reasonable and necessary fees and costs pursuant to Sections 73.091 and 73.092, Florida Statutes.

The County received and reviewed detailed invoices from the landowner’s experts and negotiated the following settlement of all remaining expert fees and costs:

CALHOUN, COLLISTER & PARHAM, INC., for real estate appraisal services:  Requested Fee:  $12,817; Settlement:  $11,300

ARMSTRONG FORENSIC ENGINEERS, INC., for engineering services:  Requested Fee:  $10,005; Settlement:  $8,004

SAMNIK & ASSOCIATES, LLC, for arborist services:  Request Fee: $225; Settlement:  $225

The County also received and reviewed a statement from the landowner’s attorney for supplemental attorney’s fees and costs as to apportionment issues in the amount of $5,350 and negotiated a settlement in the amount of $2,120 with the landowner’s attorney.

Based on the foregoing, it is recommended that the Board approve the proposed settlement.  The amount in controversy could be eclipsed by the additional attorney’s fees and expert fees the County might have to pay the landowner’s attorney for a cost hearing as well as the costs incurred by the County in defending the claim.

If approved, it is requested that a check in the amount of $21,649 be issued to The Trust Account of Blucher Law Group, LLC, and mailed to Paul A. Blucher, Esq., Blucher Law Group, LLC, 7300 Delainey Court, Sarasota, Florida 34240, for proper disbursement.

Budget Amendment B-13-018 transfers $23,000 from reserves within Local Option 5th & 6th Cent Gas Tax Capital Project Fund to the 17th Street West Project to cover settlement costs, related attorney’s fees, and overhead for acquisition of necessary parcels of land. 

Copies to:
Candi Cruz, Budget Technician, Financial Management Department
Ron Schulhofer, Director, Public Works Department
Sia Mollanazar, P.E., Deputy Director, Engineering Services
Jeff Streitmatter, Interim Manager, Project Management Division
Walter Sowa, III, Senior Engineering Specialist, Project Management Division
Johnnie Yetter, Fiscal Analyst, Fiscal Operations Division, Public Works Department
Charlie H. Bishop, PMP, Director, Property Management Department
Joaquin Servia, Manager, Property Acquisition Division 
Barbara Carter, SR/WA, Real Property Supervisor, Property Acquisition Division

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
E-mail one (1) approved copy of this Agenda Memo and attached documents to Assistant County Attorney Rodney C. Wade (rodney.wade@mymanatee.org) and Candi Cruz, Financial Management Department, (candice.cruz@mymanatee.org).

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
$21,649.00 / 307-6035261-534000 Gas Taxes

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  StipFinalOrd_Fees&Costs_SuppAttyFees&Costs_105&705_Executed.pdf
Attachment:  B-13-018.pdf
Attachment:  Aerial Map_Parent Tract.pdf