JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Anthony Burt's family has owned property near Burroughs Lane since 1965, but now he and his family are being told a part of that land is not actually theirs.
"They're saying it is not our property," said Burt.
The city acquired property between Grant and St. Augustine roads to build a retention pond as part of the Pine Forest Drainage Improvement Project which began about two years ago.
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But Burt claims the city took his family's property, which was already vacant, for the pond and did not tell the family. "There was no eminent domain, no public easement," he said.
Burt's property description map, a warranty deed, even tax bills going back decades apparently are not enough evidence, he said.
"The city said our property is sitting behind this lot and this is not our property, but that is not true, that is not true," said Burt.
The project is in City Councilman Warren Jones' District who said he met with the property owners before the city commissioned an independent survey. Jones said they discovered property lines were blurred.
"The surveyor told me when the property was developed in the 30s, the house that the Andersons lived in (was) torn down...they built the (new) house on adjoining properties," said Jones.
Jones said he encouraged the Anderson family to conduct its own survey. Legally, the burden is on the Anderson's to prove the property is theirs.
"If we did encroach, we would have to reimburse (the family) for damages and the property we have taken," said Jones.
The small portion of land is estimated at less than $10,000. Until the family's survey can prove it is their property, the city will continue the retention project which should be completed this spring.
"We would like our property back," said Burt. "That's what we would like."
First Coast News