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Neighbors in NE Tallahassee could lose some land to Bannerman Road project

Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 18:36:15-04
  • One local homeowner says she has been contacted by Blueprint to acquire her land under eminent domain.
  • The land would go toward the Bannerman Road lane expansion project.
  • Blueprint said the project will ease traffic and provide more safety.


Northeast Tallahassee is growing and so are roads like Bannerman. The growth comes with a price: some people's land.

ABC 27 reported about the expansion of Bannerman Road, adding two more lanes in early August.

While some think this will help ease traffic, others are facing the possibility of losing their land.

Melanie Cowgill said her family chose to live off of Bannerman Road to stay secluded.

"We came here thinking we've got our country property close to town, so it's the best of both worlds," Cowgill said.

As development has grown, so has traffic on Bannerman Road. That road may go on part of the three acres her family bought almost two decades ago.

"We got a knock on the door and they said 'we're here to do soil samples,'" Cowgill said. "We were like 'for what?' And then they said, 'well, there's gotta be a retention pond,' what they call a detention pond."

Cowgill said local planners have contacted her and want to take 1.5 acres for the Bannerman Road lane widening project.

"We were distraught by it because we went into thinking we wouldn't be bothered and now you want to take an acre and a half of our three acres," Cowgill said. "Not to mention the construction that would be going on."

Currently in the design phase, the project aims to add additional lanes from Quail Commons Drive to Preservation Road.

Something leaders with Blueprint said is needed to ease traffic.

As a governmental agency, they have the power to do this under eminent domain laws.

"Eminent domain is the power of the government to acquire property for a public project," said local attorney Will Fixel. His firm specializes in eminent domain litigation.

Fixel said it is important to know your rights.

"You need to know both, first, if the taking itself is overreaching, whether they are trying to acquire more property than needed, make sure the statutory requirements that they must fulfill in order to take the property and if they are, from a compensation perspective, are you getting fair compensation for what's being taken from you," Fixel said.

ABC 27's Kendall Brandt contacted leaders with Blueprint to speak about the project.

While they did not go on camera, they provided her with a statement that reads in part "This one-of-a-kind project will positively impact the northeast community by increasing traffic safety, reducing congestion, and beautifying the area for residents and visitors alike."

They also are not discussing negotiations with homeowners.

Cowgill said she has had little communication with the agency beyond getting notice of the potential impact.

"We haven't heard from the leaders, lets put it that way. Nothing is said to anyone really," Cowgill said. "It's like we're here, we're taking it. Like it or not, it's coming."

She said she is not going to fight the process, but is upset to lose her property and potentially leave her home.

"When you weren't planning on moving and planned on staying here forever, it's hard to think about," Cowgill said.

The Bannerman Road project is set to break ground in 2025.