- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - In its efforts to stabilize a hillside where a slow-moving landslide destroyed a house and threatened others, the town of Jackson may seek to force a sale of one property if they can’t negotiate a purchase price with the owners.

Town councilors hope to reach a mediated agreement with the family that owns the property, but the council authorized a letter Thursday to begin the condemnation process to keep that option open.

Town leaders hope to avoid litigation with the family while gaining control of the property so slide stabilization can take place, the Jackson Hole News & Guide (https://bit.ly/1vTRktw) reported.

“In the event we cannot mediate this thing and settle this thing, this letter is the first step in a condemnation process,” Town Manager Bob McLaurin said.

A condemnation could take until February, McLaurin said. The town wants to begin work next spring to remove earth from the hillside to help stabilize it.

The family that owns the property filed a $4.17 million lawsuit against the town and county, alleging negligence by the government and its contractors contributed to the slide. They’ve also offered to sell the land for $2 million.

By law, the town can only pay fair market value for the land, which an appraiser has set at $11,500.

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Information from: Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News And Guide, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com

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