Here’s how much West Palm loves its waterfront sidewalks: Commissioners this week gave the city’s legal department authority to buy or take by eminent domain land the city already owns, to make sure it stays a public walkway even after Palm Harbor Marina builds a hotel there. How do you buy land you already own? You don’t, not exactly. But if you’ve leased out the land to the marina company for 99 years and you want to regain control of the easement that runs beside the Intracoastal Waterway, you have to buy back the rights, or make a legal case that you’re taking it for the public good, at a fair price. The city owns the land at 400 N. Flagler Drive, which runs from the marina and Waterview Towers condominium building north to the Flagler Memorial Bridge. The city leased out the land, starting in 1979, which means there are 61 years left in the lease. The marina owners are planning to build a hotel next to the condo tower. The condo owners are fighting the hotel plan in court and also don’t want the public using the sidewalk. The commission vote Monday authorized the administration to buy or take the leasehold interest in the sidewalk land. The effort could cost as much as $400,000, the city estimates.
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