MORGANTOWN – The City of Morgantown has initiated the process of eminent domain to acquire a piece of property a riverfront renovation project encroached on without the property owner’s permission.
The city has filed a verified petition for condemnation in Monongalia County Circuit Court claiming that the property is necessary to provide adequate access to the to the Hazel Ruby-McQuain Park that underwent $4.1 million worth of renovations.
It was that renovation project that has led to the property dispute and Tuesday’s court filing.
Dan Nagowski, owns Wings Ole on 1125 University Avenue and claims he verbally agreed in September 2019 to allow the project to encroach about 35 square feet onto his property, about the size of half a parking space.
However, Nagowski knew something was wrong as soon as he saw the footer being poured for the new building, in a different orientation and different location with sidewalks that he claimed were not in the plans that had been discussed with him.
The building and adjacent sidewalks that ended up being constructed took up about 800 square feet, according to Nagowski. When Nagowski approached March Westin, the contractor in charge of the renovation project, he was told they were just following the plans provided.
Nagowski also pointed out the issue to then-City Manager Paul Brake, noting the deed, the purchase contract and survey of the property but his concerns were never addressed. Construction continued with the plans provided and the structure and adjoining sidewalks ended up taking up about 800 square feet of Nagowski’s property.
“I feel like I’ve been bullied,” Nagowski said to WAJR during a March interview on Talk of the Town.
Negotiations over the past year between Nagowski and the city have been unsuccessful. According to City Communications Director Andrew Stacy, the city has gone through mediation with Nagowski, which also did not yield any results. The city had the property appraised in June by Chico Appraisal Services for $193,800 and offered to pay the appraised value for the piece of property in question as well as expenses incurred for the eminent domain proceedings, but that offer was also rejected by Nagowski.