The Pocatello City Council approved a resolution Thursday that will allow the city's legal and planning departments to acquire private property under its eminent domain laws.This means the city can now build a complex drainage system on private land.
Landowners did not want to talk on camera, but said it's an infringement on their rights. Some said they don't want to sell their land for less than they think it's worth.
City officials say the drainage system is necessary because the building of the South Valley Connector upstream of the Portneuf River could cause flooding.
City attorneys said this has been tough since they are balancing landowners' rights with maintaining the public's well-being.
“We're not talking about the public good (supplanting) someone's rights. We are talking about the government going for the public good, but also making sure to a certain degree, the property owner is maintained whole as best as possible," said Richard Diehl, deputy city attorney.
The city said it will need to acquire the property by August.