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Marble Falls approves new offer in wastewater plant easement lawsuit

A 2-acre easement currently owned by the Fowler-Rohjaar family in Marble Falls is the subject of a condemnation lawsuit filed by the city on May 2. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls City Council authorized Mayor Dave Rhodes to execute a settlement agreement with the Fowler-Ronjaar family for a 2-acre easement on its land for the city’s proposed wastewater treatment plant. The decision was made during executive session at the council’s June 4 meeting.

The action comes on the heels of a condemnation lawsuit filed by the city against the family on May 2. The City of Marble Falls, TX v. Nancy Shefflet Fowler Trust and Estate of Nancy Jo Fowler was filed in the Burnet County Court at Law.

The agreement is subject to further negotiations and approval by City Attorney Josh Brockman-Weber.

The lawsuit seeks the acquisition of 2 acres on the Fowler-Ronjaar family’s 800-plus-acre property in Marble Falls.

The city offered the family $43,428 in February. A final offer of the same amount was sent in April. The price was based on an appraisal and final estimate of value from third-party appraiser Atrium Real Estate Services in May 2023. 

The Marble Falls City Council voted to invoke eminent domain in July 2023 after failing to hear back from the landowners.

“The City provided the Property Owner Defendant with at least 14 days to respond to the final offer, but the Property Owner Defendant did not agree to the terms of the final offer,” the lawsuit reads. “Further attempts to negotiate would be futile and to no avail.”

Marble Falls City Manager Mike Hodge noted during the July 2023 meeting that the Fowler-Ronjaar family filed a request for a contested case hearing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding the wastewater plant’s permitting process. 

In the lawsuit, the city is asking the court to appoint three special commissioners to assess actual damages and to “grant a final judgment or decree of condemnation” to hand the property over to the city.

Marble Falls officials provided the following statement to DailyTrib.com when asked about the details of the ongoing case.

“We appreciate the role of our local media in providing important information to residents,” Deputy City Manager Caleb Kraenzel wrote in an email. “The City continues to have discussions to find ways to resolve this matter to the mutual benefit of all parties and residents of Marble Falls, but unfortunately, at this time, we can’t provide specific comment on those discussions or provide additional information beyond what has been publicly filed.”

Hearings for the case are yet to be scheduled, according to the Office of the Burnet County Court at Law. DailyTrib.com is waiting to hear back from the TCEQ on whether a contested hearing regarding the wastewater plant permit will be granted. 

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Marble Falls approves new offer in wastewater plant easement lawsuit

  1. The city will end up paying a minimum of 3 times the amount of what they offered the owners. Any 3 panel commission worth their weight should be able to see the cities low offer is a slap in the face. Its funny how the city wants a fortune when people want to purchase land the city owns but dont want to properly compensate owners when they want to confiscate land they need for their wants.

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