COURT RULING: County Can Seize Land For Reservoir

A judge’s ruling means about 30 Clarke County land owners will have to give up their property.

For 25 years, Cindy and Pete Sanford have enjoyed their home and the 180-acres it sits on. It’s where they raised their children, and where they planned to spend the rest of their days. But now, the government is seizing their home and more than two thousand acres belonging to about 30 of their neighbors, to build a reservoir.

It’s like they say, you can’t fight city hall.

“They had four, five expert witnesses,” Cindy Sanford says. “We had none. Because we didn’t have the money, the landowners, to fight it. They have taxpayer dollars to fight against us.”

Her husband Pete Sanford adds, “Both my kids were raised here. They both come home here and they love it here. They sleep well here and it’s quiet. And it’s gonna be a loss for them.”

David Beck with the Clarke County Reservoir Commission says while he sympathizes with the landowners, Osceola needs the water. “We have a water supply need here in Oceola, Clark county and Southern Iowa,” Beck says. “The ground water here in the area is inadequate in terms of quality and quantity. “

If no one contests the judge’s ruling, the reservoir commission will begin assessing the property values and making offers early next month. Land owners will be offered fair market price for their property.



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