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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Campbell County Judge clears path for City of Cold Spring to purchase DAV Property

A court ruling granted the city of Cold Spring the right to intervene on the Disabled American Veterans property, clearing the way for purchase of the property.


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by Robin Gee, city council beat editor

A recent decision by the Judge Dan Zalla in Campbell County Circuit Court could help clear the way for the city of Cold Spring to purchase the former Disabled American Veterans (DAV) property, an approximate 30-acre parcel located at 3725 Alexandria Pike.

The city is in the process of purchasing the property through an agreement with developer Al. Neyer and the DAV. The court’s ruling establishes the city’s interest in the property and its right to intervene. 

RELATED: Cold Spring to File Suit Against School District Over DAV Property

However, the Campbell County School District Board continues following its own path in possibly obtaining the DAV property through the process of condemnation under eminent domain. 

The district had filed a lis pendens on the property, a legal filing that indicates a pending suit on the property. While this action does not prevent the sale of a property, it is required to be settled in some form before the title can be cleared. 

According to the court document, if the city was not permitted to intervene, it would not be able to clear the lis pendens. Therefore, the ruling allows the city to intervene and act to clear the title. 

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Establishing the city's separate interests in the property

The school district had argued that the current owner of the property, the DAV, could adequately represent both its own and the city's interests in this matter and so an intervention by the city was not needed.

The court ruled that the city’s interests were not covered by the DAV, because the DAV is a private entity and the city, as a governmental body, has eminent domain rights of its own.

"This was an appropriate decision by the Campbell County Circuit Court, and we are still planning on proceeding with the closing on the property. We are discussing an operating agreement with St. Elizabeth to bring 240 jobs to our city, so we are moving forward as planned," said Brandon Voelker, attorney for Cold Spring. 

School district awaits condemnation decision

In the meantime, the school district is awaiting a decision on its condemnation of the property through eminent domain. That decision is expected to come within 90-120 days from filing. The school district leaders have noted their strong interest in the property stems from a need to add a second middle school to serve families in the northern tier of the county.

Voelker added that city leaders were troubled by the schools’ rejection of its "olive branch" to sit down and discuss alternate sites for the school, as well as the city’s offer of financial support and assistance.

Campbell County School District Superintendent Dr. David Rust declined to comment but said he stands by his earlier statements on the matter that the district plans to wait for a decision on their condemnation action. 

RELATED: Cold Spring Moves Ahead With DAV Purchase, Offers Schools Assitance on Finding Alternative Sites

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