Local

Homeowner locked in eminent domain battle with county

Friday, July 26, 2013

A woman who claims Harris County is trying take her home on the cheap is speaking out. It's an eminent domain battle that's infuriating some homeowners along Brays Bayou.

"I fell in love with it the first time I saw it and bought it on the spot," homeowner Kelli Robinson said.

Robinson bought this home, on three-quarters of an acre near the University of Houston 13 years ago. Her plans to retire there appear to be floating away down Brays Bayou; Harris County is taking her home using eminent domain.

"What bothers me is that I don't have anywhere to go. They are just kicking me out of my house," Robinson said.

The project consists of 70 individual projects along the 31 miles of Brays Bayou. It is the largest project ever managed by the Harris County Flood Control District. Along with expanding the bayou, hike and bike trails will be added.

While it's suppose to reduce the risk of flooding, Robinson says since her home was build in 1937 and it has never flooded.

"Not even during Allison," she said.

Reps with the flood control district say an independent appraiser they secured determines the dollar amount the county offers for a home under eminent domain.

As for the compensation, Robinson says she's being short changed, after adding a pool and garage in the backyard.

"The compensation is maybe like one-third of market value," she said.

So while she only has weeks left to fight the county land grab, she try to enjoy her backyard view as much as possible.

"If they needed to extend the bayou a little bit, maybe they could take out my back fence, maybe they could take out my garage. They do not have to kick me out of my house," she said.

A final hearing has been set for August 22. During it, Robinson expects to learn the final settlement and how many days she has to move out.

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