Property owners upset over new school sewer route - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Property owners upset over new school sewer route

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JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) -

Some private landowners are not happy at the city of North Liberty's plans to use some of their land for a new sewer line.

The city will take 1,400 acres of land in Johnson County as it plans to spur development and serve a new school.

The sewer line would go to the soon-to-be-built liberty high school and would affect more than a dozen properties.

Gary Weinman owns 70 acres of land and filed a lawsuit, trying to stop the city from obtaining his land for their use.

"It's going to be very frustrating. I've been taking care of this land for 30 years my family has, my kids have," said Weinman.

Weinman says less than half of his natural prairie will be uprooted by the city.

A sewer line is set to be installed to serve about 1,400 acres of potential development along with the opening of the new Iowa City School district's Liberty High School planned for 2017.

The sewer line is set to potentially start at the water treatment facility in North Liberty, running south along the edge the creek on Weinman's property, all the way to the site of the new high school.

Weinman says with the sewer comes manholes and sewer gas. He says the sewer will also hurt the two species of bats and turtles that he says are endangered and live in the prairie habitat.

Leaders in north liberty took steps through eminent domain to obtain the land from Weinman and some other property owners, in early January.

They'll have condemnation hearings February 11-13.

"They want to come through here and my feeling is that they're going to destroy the prairie," said Weinman.

Weinman says he cannot understand why the city of North Liberty wants to take private land, when there's developed property a few yards away.

Weinman is not alone, the sewer line project will impact more than a dozen total properties.

Nine landowners have reached agreements with north liberty officials so far.

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