By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
The City of Yukon and an outdoor advertising company have settled a lawsuit over a billboard that stands on land where a new Interstate 40 interchange will be built.
Under the settlement, Lamar Central Outdoor LLC has until June 1 to move its billboard on the north side of I-40 just east of Frisco Road. Lamar gets to keep its billboard and City of Yukon has agreed to pay the company $2,500.
“The billboard is sitting on city property under lease,” Yukon City Attorney Gary Miller said. “The city needs the property for part of the Frisco Road/I-40 interchange. A representative for the city had tried to get it resolved, but it led to a lawsuit.”
The billboard company filed an inverse condemnation suit against the City of Yukon on Feb. 21 in Canadian County District Court. The plaintiff, through attorney William H. Hickman, sought “just compensation” for its billboard.
Lamar owns a lease agreement authorizing the company to use the 4.28-acre property to erect and maintain an outdoor advertising sign.
The civil lawsuit against the City of Yukon has been dismissed with prejudice, which bars Lamar from later filing another suit on the same issue.
“Their attorney and I negotiated the settlement,” Miller said.
“We agreed to give them until June 1 to move the sign somewhere else. If not, it would be deemed ‘abandoned’ and the City will have it removed.”
Noting the value of Lamar’s large outdoor billboard, Miller said Yukon city officials were well pleased with the settlement agreement.
Construction of the Frisco Road/I-40 interchange is expected to begin later this summer. An Oklahoma Department of Transportation contractor will build the interchange, but first the City of Yukon must ensure all utilities are relocated and easements are obtained.
The City of Yukon has now reached agreements with owners of several parcels around Frisco Road and I-40 that it had to acquire so the project can start.
“There is no other property out there that has to be condemned – the sign was the last thing,” Miller said.
In anticipation of the interchange project, the City of Yukon in fall 2018 offered Lamar $35,000 for the outdoor billboard. This offer was rejected so the city last July initiated condemnation proceedings under its power of eminent domain.
Yukon’s Blayne Cole, Buster Elliott and John Miller were appointed as commissioners to inspect the property and consider the injury which Lamar – as property owner – would sustain through the appropriation of the property for public purposes.
These three “disinterested freeholders of Canadian County” on Dec. 4 assessed damages at $83,000 – including $37,046 for the land and $45,954 for the sign, court records show.