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ACHD demolished Smoky Davis in 2017. Now it may pay Davises far more than it planned

Smoky Davis was one of the business casualties during the widening of State Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway. Gary and Dee Davis hope to rebuild, and the old sign is ready in their backyard if that happens. ACHD on Tuesday added an item to its Wednesday agenda to approve a $1.8 million settlement with the Davises.
Posted at 12:54 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 14:54:13-05

This story was originally published on the Idaho Statesman, and was written by Hayley Harding.

In 2017, the Ada County Highway District demolished Smoky Davis, the iconic Boise smoked meat store. Three years later, its owners could get $1.8 million in compensation.

ACHD commissioners are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a proposed settlement to compensate Gary and Dee Davis for the property. The store was located at 3914 W. State and had been in the Davis family since 1953.

The building was torn down in 2017 as part of the intersection expansion at State Street, Veterans Memorial Parkway and 36th Street. ACHD claimed it through eminent domain, which is the government’s right to take private property for public use as long as the owners are paid.

ACHD offered the Davises $248,260. The Davises rejected the offer. They told the Statesman last year that ACHD contended it needed only to pay for the one-eighth an acre it took as part of the expansion, plus moving costs for the Davises to open a new restaurant. The Davises argued ACHD should replace the building on the remaining land.

The $1.8 million settlement is payment for not only the land taken but also the “resulting damages,” which include business damages, relocation costs and re-establishment costs, according to the proposed settlement. That amount will have the original $248,260 already paid subtracted.

The Statesman reported in August that ACHD had spent more than $273,000 on the lawsuit as of July of last year. The agency had to be sued to disclose that via public records request. A request for an updated number was not immediately answered.

It is not yet clear if or when Smoky Davis may reopen. A lawyer representing the Davises was not immediately available for comment. Additionally, a request for comment from an ACHD spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

To read Hayley Harding's story, check out the Idaho Statesman!

Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

Photo courtesy Katherine Jones