By Natalie Everett

The Morgan Hill City Council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency, will likely close on a deal to purchase this home at 35 E. Third St. Wednesday night. In the past month, the council put off two public hearings on eminent domain action to acquire the home.

The city will likely put eminent domain back in its tool box Wednesday night with the council’s approval to purchase an East Third Street home for $587,500.

The city sent a letter June 1 notifying Dwight and Lola Jungkeit, owners of 35 E. Third St., of its intent to acquire the property to make way for more downtown parking. The lot add-on is now estimated to house nine parking spaces, not eight, making the total per parking space about $65,278.

Mayor Steve Tate said the city stuck by its original offer of $525,000, but after weighing the costs of eminent domain, including the public relations nightmare that accompanies such a move, the city increased their offer.

The Jungkeits’ counter offer was $730,000.

The parking expansion would be completed in the fall, according to a staff report. Tate noted that the quarter-acre lot won’t “just be for nine parking spaces,” but will also improve the “parking spine” behind the businesses that face Monterey Road between Third and Second streets. Further, by acquiring the home, the city will be able to provide access to the remaining five homes on Third from behind the homes, Tate said.

A city can undertake eminent domain if its governing board deems the property is necessary for a project that serves the greatest public good, and if the owner of that property has been offered a fair market price for it, City Attorney Danny Wan said.

If the purchase is approved by the council, acting as the Redevelopment Agency board, then the public hearing on eminent domain – which was extended two meetings at the request of the Jungkeits – will be closed.

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