Jury reaches verdict over land dispute at the new turnpike

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OKLAHOMA COUNTY – A verdict has been reached in a battle over land.

In this case, it was landowners versus the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

It’s one of 28 cases that wrapped up Wednesday.

It involved a piece of land along the route for the new Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike.

The jury decided $355,000 is how much Nancy and Wayne Brewer’s 1.5 acres of land is worth. They used to own a daycare facility on the land, but the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike has taken over the area.

“It’s frustrating,” said Wayne, the landowner.

A piece of land Wayne and Nancy hoped to pass down to their family is now gone.

“We’ve had it 28 years,” Wayne said. “I mean, we were going to keep it forever.”

In 2017, the OTA let owners of 375 lots near Harrah in eastern Oklahoma County know they were building the new toll road. It will connect I-40 to the Turner Turnpike, carving a path through a number of private homes.

“It’s tough,” Wayne said. “They have the power.”

The OTA offered the Brewers $250,000 based on a third-party appraiser, which is much less than the $410,000 the Brewers wanted.

Wednesday, after one hour of deliberations inside an Oklahoma County courtroom, a jury decided $355,000 was the best offer.

“I thought it was low,” Wayne said. “It will work I guess.”

In the end, he’s happy the process is over.

“You’ve got to go to pre-trial, mediation and yada, yada, yada with the lawyers,” Wayne said.

But, it’s not the end of the fight for Brewers’ attorney. He represents many other landowners who plan to fight the OTA  for money they believe they deserve.

“I think probably in September is when our next trial will go,” said Nick Atwood, a local attorney.

Wayne said he understands why the state needs the land but isn’t happy with how it was handled.

“They could solve this really easy if they just boost their price of their real-estate up 10-20 percent,” Wayne said. “They’d eliminate all of this court.”

The OTA sent us the following statement:

“Acquiring someone’s property is the toughest thing we have to do. We work as hard as we can with the landowner on a settlement for their property before a trial is warranted. In this case, unfortunately, the two sides were not able to agree on a settlement. The court did what they were there to do, and we respect the outcome.” 

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