Eminent domain in this situation means to acquire property for public development and that process is no stranger to a 30 year head-shop business on the corner of University and 8th St., right across from Tech campus.
What you don't know, the owners of that business rent their building from McDougal properties. The same company who's developing a big part of the land.
Buffalo Beano co-owner Karen King didn't want to go on camera but said she has a top notch Dallas attorney to fight for her rights. Her landlord is McDougal Properties and says she has six years left on her lease. As far as she's concerned, she says she has six years to decide to move.
Lubbock City Councilman Victor Hernandez, represents Overton and is also a resident there. He says the city council talked about using eminent domain to force Buffalo Beano out. It was a discussion behind closed doors on Thursday. A discussion he says he wasn't a part of. "This is definitely a signal to many, I think, in North Overton that the city is not just considered using eminent domain, they're willing to use the power to take homes and businesses away. I'm not sure that's the signal we need to send to property owners in North Overton," said Hernandez.
But legally, the city can use it's power to obtain property for public redevelopment, which happens to be the case on 8th St. Planning and zoning's Craig Farmer says they need to widen 8th St. another 40 feet for a four lane road for the safety of traffic into the area. "Widening of 8th St. is clearly a public purpose," said Farmer.
However, in order for that to happen, Farmer says the shop will have to move. But King says there's no place like University for her shop. "We need to let the purchaser of properties have a chance to work up a reasonable price for their property if that can't be done, the deal doesn't go through," said Hernandez.
Hernandez says eminent domain is taking place even though the city council didn't vote in public. NewsChannel 11 has been told Buffalo Beano's attorney will have to work out a deal now with the city because of the eminent domain. Delbert McDougal says 89% of the North Overton neighborhood is purchased.