Danville city leaders make one last attempt to avoid using eminent domain

Eminent domain being considered to widen Mt. Cross Road

DANVILLE, Va. – Moving forward with widening Mount Cross Road between Lowes Drive and the entrance to Averett University's North Campus will now take up to 60 more days.

The project could have moved forward Tuesday night with a vote to use eminent domain, but Danville City Council members said based on what they heard from property owners that night, they believe tabling the issue for 60 more days will be worth it.

"My goal is always to avoid eminent domain if at all possible and it sounded like there's some hope for them to continue these negotiations," said Councilman Lee Vogler.

With time running out to get the project started before funding for the project expires, Vogler said tabling a vote on eminent domain may also be the best option.

"Hopefully," Vogler explained, "this will actually speed up the process and we can come to a resolution that all parties involved will be happy with."

Councilman James Buckner also believes tabling a vote on eminent domain was the right decision, even though the city and the property owners are still far apart.

"Well, we just wanted to give the homeowners and landowners opportunities to talk with the city," said Buckner.

He said one property owner in particular gave him confidence that the city will not be wasting time by continuing to negotiate.

"Just from what I heard from Mr. Pleasant and his sons last night, I feel like we will come to an agreement," Buckner said.

But if not, the city will use eminent domain.

"This is something that's been in the works for several years. It's an important project, so we're going to make sure it moves forward," Vogler emphasized.

The city has already reached an agreement with the 15 other property owners whose property is needed in order to widen the road.