Cemetery files suit to condemn farming land – Melville

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Cemetery files suit to condemn farming land By Karen White / Senior Times Writer 5-31-2001 SANTA MARIA — The Santa Maria Cemetery District has filed suit in Superior Court to condemn nearly 37 acres of open farming land for cemetery expansion and the extension of College Drive south to Betteravia Road. The property to be used for the cemetery extension goes from Battles Road south to the future extension line with Inger Drive. The eastern edge of the cemetery would follow the extension of College Drive. About six acres of the total will go for the roadway. The western boundary of the cemetery expansion will match the western line of the present cemetery site. The district is making use of eminent domain proceedings to obtain the land from the estate of Lena Enos Buss and owners of other portions, according to the suit filed May 21. The Cemetery District board had already voted to approve the annexation project through eminent domain. The expansion and the College Drive extension have been in the planning stages since 2000. The suit will resolve the actual price for the exchange of the property, according to attorney Alex Simas, representing the district. The district has deposited $2.33 million with the courts in connection with the suit, accompanying a request that the district be allowed immediate possession before the actual price is determined. That could happen in about 90 days. Santa Maria Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville will preside at the suit and has set the first case management conference for Oct. 1. Prior to that, negotiations will continue on the dispute between what the district has offered and what the property owners are seeking. Listed as having interests in the property are Samuel C. Rhea, Dorene G. Rhea and Richard P. Weldon, individually and as executors of the estate of Lena Enos Buss; Bel-Air Oil Company, a lessee on the property; W.H. Rice, Florence L. Rice, Arthur M. Macrate, possible interest holders; Owen T. Rice and Son, a farming corporation, lessee, and Central Coast Federal Bank Association, beneficiary of the deed of trust. The expansion will serve the cemetery for the foreseeable future, according to Simas. The action also will meet the needs of the city by providing the right of way to extend a half-mile section of College Drive from Battles Road to Betteravia Road. The College Drive extension will not come in the immediate future, according to Bruce Nybo, senior civil engineer for the city. First, College Drive will be expanded from McCoy Drive to Sunrise Drive, Nybo said. Bids are now being reviewed for this project, scheduled to start in June or July. The final step in the College Drive expansion will be from Battles to Betteravia. The project will result in the fourth major artery from north to south through Santa Maria. College, sometime in the future, will go from Donovan Road to Santa Maria Way, running parallel to Miller Street, Broadway, Blosser Road and Highway 101. A large parcel of land, west of College Drive, will still belong to the Buss estate. Plans for this parcel are unknown, Simas said. :nav Source: http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2001/05/31/news/export2620.txt

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