Landowner, City Butt Heads Over Future Heritage H.S. Property

Lynchburg, VA- Lynchburg's City Attorney says one landowner is standing in the way of plans for the new Heritage High School. But, the landowner says the city is standing in the way of him getting a good deal on his property. The standoff is now headed to city council.

City Attorney Walter Erwin says on October 22, council will hold a public hearing to determine whether the land at 3010 Wards Ferry Road should be acquired by eminent domain. The property is the last of six that the city needs for the new Heritage High.

The city and the property owner have been back and forth over a price for the past couple of months. Erwin says two appraisals done by Milton and Neal Properties priced the land at $186,000. The city even upped its offering price to $225,000 at one point.

But, owner Wayne Henson believes his property is worth much more than that, more like $420,000. Henson bought the 2.39 acre property back in 2006 for $140,000.

Back in 2005 when the property was up for sale, Henson actually approached school officials, advising them they would need the land if they planned to build a new school. But Erwin says at that time, officials didn't know what their plan for Heritage was.

Erwin says since there's such a big difference in the appraisal price and Henson's asking price, the city has no other option but to move forward with eminent domain.