After being rebuffed by homeowners in the Rosehill neighborhood, the City of Tallahassee’s electric utility is moving to buy property off of Spencer Road to expand a electric distribution substation in northeast Tallahassee.
And homeowners on Spencer Road are not happy about the decision or the process.
The property purchase was scheduled to be handled at the January 31st city commission meeting under the consent agenda, until City Commissioner Gil Ziffer pulled the item for discussion. Normally, consent agenda items are not discussed.
Also, in an ironic twist, the homeowners on Spencer Road find themselves at the mercy of elected officials they cannot hold accountable at the ballot box. The residents are impacted by the City of Tallahassee’s utilities, but their property is not located within the city limits.
At the meeting, the City’ electric utility is slated to ask the city commission to approve the purchase of a 1.59-acre parcel of land and single-family residence located on the west side of Spencer Road, in advance of the substation expansion project. Negotiations resulted in an agreed upon sale price of $415,000.
The proposed purchase makes it clear that the City’ electric utility has decided that a part of Spencer Road will one day be home to the substation expansion.
However, before Spencer Road became the target of the expansion, an agreement with Rosehill residents was close to being finalized.
City documents show that in September of 2015, the City made a formal offer to acquire the land needed from the Rosehill homeowners.
In December of 2015, Rosehill formally rejected the offer and provided a $1.72 million counter offer. At the suggestion of Rosehill, the City agreed to enter into a pre-suit mediation on this issue. This mediation occurred in February of 2016 with a settlement agreement reached.
The settlement agreement was conditioned upon the approval of the Rosehill residents, consistent with their governing documents, and the City Commission. The settlement agreement provided for a $1.3 million payment with $1.125 million to Rosehill and the balance to their attorney and experts.
On June 1, 2016, the Rosehill HOA held a meeting with their homeowners and the settlement agreement was not approved.
It appears the City considered, but never followed through with, eminent domain proceedings.
Now comes the Spencer Road purchase which has left the residents upset about the lack of communication and wondering how many more homes will be purchased to accommodate the substation expansion.
The whole thing stinks. The commission acted as if they had no idea this was even happening, and that they did not even know Spencer Road had an HOA which has been established since 1987. On top of that, they said the resident selling his home on Spencer, happened to out of nowhere, decided to contact the city and see if they would buy his home. How would he have even known about the possibility of selling if the issue had already been denied 2 years prior. There are alot of underlying issues with all of it, and yes I think the ridiculous development between Moore Pond and Ox Manor has a lot to do with it. Greed and money is the back bone of all these decisions, and no one involved from gain will care about what is the after math of such development after they cash in and bolt. This affects everyone’s health, neighborhood, traffic, home value, and school. I hope everyone see’s the writing on the wall with the city pushing it’s issues into the county and letting power and money be a big play in the system. Hopefully, the new commission makes better decisions than current city staff.
Can someone please explain why City of Tallahassee is providing electricity to 15,000 County (not city) residents? I personally had a situation where I was selling a house near Miccosukee/Crump Road in 2006. During the process of completing the sale I was told it was time to disconnect my utilities (Talquin) on a certain date. Several days later there was a glitch in the sale process and it looked to be falling through. So I contacted Talquin and was told that they would not be able to turn it back on for me; that I would need to contact City of Tallahassee. Huh? Had I wanted to pay City of Tallahassee taxes I would be living in the city limits. My house was not annexed and Talquin was clearly able to provide service to me while I lived in that house.
So after hearing this story and the danger of “taxation without representation” and the inability to have control over a governing authority like City of Tallahassee I ask what business do they have to be forcing themselves into county neighborhoods? Can we, as citizens do anything to stop that?
looking at the map….what is this substation going to do to the value of the adjacent properties on Spencer? Rosehill land was behind spencer properties and was not next to or in front of residential homes.
If COT utility wants more property and you are the neighboring properties, you are out in the cold trying to negotiate, b/c the market value of your property is already decreased.
Think about it if you live next to or across the street from the substation when it it built – your property values will be in the toilet. Adjacent OWNERS – should most definitely claim condemnation blight.
I notice that the Rosehill substation will be about a mile from where the Brookside Village is going to be built.
So the wealthy neighborhood negotiated with the city for almost a year and rejected the city’s offer, and later the Spencer Rd neighborhood site was being ramrodded through on the consent agenda. Well thank you Mr. Ziffer for having the guts to bring this issue for discussion.