JAMES CITY COUNTY — The James City County (JCC) Board of Supervisors approved the initiation of condemnation proceedings to acquire a sidewalk easement on private property for the Clara Byrd Baker Elementary Safe Routes to School Project.
During the Oct. 12 meeting, the Board gave permission for a sidewalk easement on 3109 Ironbound Road.
The Board approved the Clara Byrd Baker Elementary Safe Routes to School Project in 2017, and appropriated approximately $362,000 for the project in 2018.
The project is a collaboration between JCC and Williamsburg-James City County Schools (WJCC) to improve the corridor from John Tyler Highway along Ironbound Road to the elementary school to give students a safer route.
County Attorney Adam Kinsman said that the County has obtained all of the necessary easements along the road except for the property at 3109 Ironbound Rd.
Since 2020, the County has attempted to purchase a 1,501-square-foot permanent easement from the owners.
The property is owned by three individuals, two who are local, and one who resides in Richmond. Kinsman said that the County has informal approval from the two local owners for the land, but have been unable to get approval from the non-local owner.
Kinsman said that they have atttempted multiple emails, calls, snail mail and hand-delivered items to no avail.
“We’re a little bit concerned that if we don’t move forward with this now, we’re going to lose the ability to do the project,” Kinsman told the Board. “So that’s why I’m asking for your permission to initiate condemnation.”
Kinsman said that the County will continue working with the owners on the easement, which is valued at $1,425.36, and reestablish contact with the non-local owner.
The local owners have agreed to sell their respective third interest in the easement for $1,000 each, plus an additional $500 to one of the owners to compensate for the anticipated loss of some recently-planted trees on the land.
The Board unanimously approved the condemnation proceedings.
The Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School Safe Routes to School Project will see improvements to the corridor, including the sidewalk. A pedestrian actuated crosswalk will be added on the western leg of the John Tyler Highway and Ironbound Road intersection.
There will also be crosswalk modifications and installation of a sidewalk at the entrance in the interior of the school and a sidewalk along Ironbound Road from 0.05 mile west of Village Park Dr.