ANDERSON, SC (WSPA) – Land passed down for generations in one Anderson County family is now being threatened by the city.
The city of Anderson says they need to replace their sewer lines that are around 50-years-old. They decided the best place for the project was through private property on Kings Road in Anderson County. The family hasn’t agreed on the location, so the city is using eminent domain to be able to start the construction of an underground sewer line and above ground pump station that will serve around 4000 people.
Both the city and family says they tried negotiating over the land but haven’t had much success.
“If we can’t reach an agreement for a right of way and what we needed, then we can take it for a public purpose,” Anderson City Attorney, Frankie McClain said.
Tonya Winbush, one of the property owners, says she understands the need for improved utilities but wants the line placed in a different location.
“We want it on the outskirts of our property where it doesn’t do as much damage,” said Tonya Winbush, one of the property owners.
The city says their engineers did look at alternatives.
“ I think they did explore doing it different ways,” McClain said. “It just turned out to be not financially practical.”
Winbush says last Thursday her family woke up to about a mile of their property cleared.
“We feel like we let our father down…You can’t get the trees back, you can’t fix it back like it was. You’ve got land that you’ve had for over 100 years,” Winbush said.
Winbush says her great-grandfather bought 41 acres along Kings Road in 1912 for $2678.
“It’s so indoctrinated into you to take pride in your land,” Winbush said. “This is something that’s been passed down. This is something that your ancestors worked hard and paid taxes for.”
The city says they did send a notice after they filed a letter of condemnation with the court. McClain says the city got an independent appraiser and paid the court an amount based on that. He says the family didn’t respond during the 30 day time frame required, so they were able to start their project on the land. The city says they’ll end up occupying two acres of the family’s land. McClain says they still need to go to court to find out how much the city will owe the family for the land. However, the family says it’s a not about the money.
“We don’t want to go anywhere,” Winbush said. “We don’t want to be pushed off.”
The family says their attorney is now working on a cease and desist order.
Back in 2005, the state used eminent domain and took almost 10 acres of the family’s property to build East West Parkway.