Property owners upset with unfair eminent domain offer from Raleigh County

BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – A couple from the Beaver area own a small patch of land on Ritter Drive, and they are claiming the Raleigh County government wants to take it over.

The land used to be the home of a popular bar and grill called Yesterday’s on the Creek, before it burned down about two years ago. 

Now the property owners, Michael and Shauntell Durgan, claim the Raleigh County government is interested in taking the land through eminent domain.

According to Michael Durgan, they don’t believe the county is offering them enough money to take it over.

“They’re trying to just freeze me out and just take the property,” Durgan said. “And it’s not fair. They’re not offering a fair market value for it.”

Through eminent domain, a government can take over some land and offer the property owner fair market value in return. It’s reserved for government projects that require that land.

In this case, it falls around the area of economic development. The property owners claim that Raleigh County wants to turn the land into a welcome center and kayak put-in. 

The problem is that the property owners and their realtor say the county is not offering fair value. Their realtor listed it for a purchase price of $59,000. But the county was only offering them $1,000. 

“The county came in after the property was listed and asked me how much it was,” Real estate agent Brian Brown said. “And then I never heard back from them and several months later they filed an eminent domain at the property offering my clients $1,000. I felt it to be a completely unfair offer.” 

On Tuesday morning the county commission held a brief emergency meeting. The owners managed to attend the meeting and ask for a new appraisal on the property. 

“Fortunately we were able to get on this morning’s agenda, and they’re going to at least get an appraisal, so we try to get a fair offer for them on this property.” 

The owners are hopeful to get a fair offer from the county in the near future.

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