Dubuque Business Owner Says City Is Abusing Eminent Domain Power
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - A Dubuque business owner is enraged and fears he’ll soon lose his livelihood. He says the city of Dubuque is misusing its power of eminent domain.
The battle is over a piece of land on 16th Street near the city’s new Bee Branch Drainage Basin. The city wants to tear down 16th Street Auto. In it’s place, they want to build a parking lot for the newly developed park nearby. Work at 16th Street Auto isn’t quiet.
“We sell parts, we dismantle cars,” says owner Perry Pickle.
A business like this is zoned heavy industrial. That’s a designation Pickle says is hard to come by in the city of Dubuque. Pickle found out is the city is forcing him to move from the 16th Street location.
“That’s what I don’t understand how they can force eminent domain on a want," says Pickle. "Because the city wants my property, they don’t need my property.”
But the city says a parking lot is needed here to benefit the whole community.
“that’s the issue when you live in a city," according to Dubuque Civil Engineer Deron Muehring. "Sometime they have to do something that is in the best interest of the public as a whole and maybe not for that one property owner. ”
Pickle says he’d understand giving up his business if this space was needed for flood protection. But not for a parking lot. He suggests the city build the parking lot in a spot slightly east of the Bee Branch site. The city already owns this land property.
“That has other potential uses for commercial development of some sort and for tourist attraction reasons" says Muehring.
For Pickle those explanations don’t seem reasonable. Now he’s facing the reality that his days are numbered for running 16th Street Auto on 16th Street.
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