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(Thu., January 24, 2013) − The board of directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation today adopted a pair of resolutions notifying the Honolulu City Council of its intent to acquire by eminent domain two parcels of land needed for the rail transit project.


“Several years of sincere negotiations to reach an agreement on a price for these properties have not been successful. We believe the best option now is to have a third party, that is the court, decide the appropriate settlement,” said HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas. “This action will respect the property owners’ interests and those of the taxpayers.”


HART works to acquire property for the project through mutual agreement with the property owners. All residential acquisitions have been completed in this manner. The remaining properties to be acquired, including these two, are business and commercial properties. The Honolulu rail project must comply with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and the Real Property Acquisition Policies Act and state law. Condemnation is the avenue of last resort.


“We have been successful in acquiring 21 properties by negotiating an agreed upon purchase price with the affected landowners,” Grabauskas said. “In these two particular cases, we have done our due diligence to reach agreement with the property owners.”


The two properties are located at 96-136 Farrington Highway inWaipahu and 945 Kamehameha Highway in Pearl City.


As part of the right-of-way acquisition process, each affected property is appraised by an independent, third-party appraiser who determines the fair market value. The offer to property owners cannot be less than the appraised value.


The eminent domain resolutions now move to the Honolulu City Council. The Council has 45 days to review the measures. If the Council does not adopt a resolution objecting to the property acquisitions during that time, the HART Board may proceed to give final approval to institute eminent domain proceedings. Such final action would occur after public notice and an opportunity for public testimony.


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Media Contact: Jeanne Mariani-Belding, (808) 768-6145, cell: (808) 489-2530.