Eminent domain is not a new thing for Avon. Over the years, the city has claimed eminent domain to take land for the public schools. In some cases, residents lost land that had been in the family for generations.
Now, a similar situation has arisen for the coming I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. This time the issue is money: Are owners getting fair value for their land?
According to the law of “quick take,” cities can bring in appraisers, come up with a what is deemed a fair buying price, deposit that money into an account with the court, and take the land.
Quick take makes it possible for construction to begin immediately, rather than go back and forth for years within the courts. Although the money has been deposited, land owners can still go to court to negotiate a higher buying cost.
Avon has already hired appraisers to assess the land and come up with what they believe is a good buying price. The city needs to acquire 30 properties for the interchange. Twenty have already been acquired without going to court. Ten properties has not been settled, and suits were filed by the city with the Lorain County Common Pleas Court.
Of the 10 cases filed, one has since been settled. The other nine cases are going to court for negotiations.
“They think their land is worth more, we think it’s worth what it’s appraised for,” said John Gasior, law director for Avon. “We think we made very reasonable offers.”
Landowners don’t appear to feel the same way.
Frank Root owns 2.03 acres of land being taken. The city has offered him $203,000, but Root and his attorney, Chris Cook, are asking for more.
“These cases come down to the credibility of the appraisers,” says Cook. “Ninety percent of the time, the judge picks the number in the middle” as to the amount the landowner will ultimately receive.
No landowners could be reached for comment.
No court dates are currently set, but could happen anywhere from the next two weeks to 30 days.