By Rebecca Turman
Earlier last month, City Council members approved an ordinance allowing Avon Mayor Jim Smith to enter into contracts to buy land for the I-90 interchange to be built at Nagel Road.
At the end of July, the city made offers to 31 property owners totaling $6.1 million, including the cost of warranty deed takings with, and without, limited access along with temporary construction easements, utility easements and damages.
The initial individual offers ranged from $1,100 to $1.39 million.
“We have 16 out of 31 that have been signed and agreed to,” Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said Thursday.
“There were three or four counteroffers,” Piazza said, adding the city accepted two of them because they weren’t much more than the initial offer. “We had several counteroffers that have just been refused by us.”
A few property owners said they would seek out their own appraisers, Piazza said.
“We are 50 percent of the way there, so that’s not bad,” he said of the process.
In August, Avon Law Director John Gasior told council members they could expect to see another resolution sometime this month, regarding property that owners may not want to settle financially with the city. But Piazza estimates a resolution probably wouldn’t come before council for another month or two.
The city has until January to complete the land acquisition process, Piazza said.
“Once stage three gets approved and we get the right of way certified, we can go out to bid,” he added.
Not knowing whether all of the remaining property owners will settle leaves some unknowns.
“We still don’t talk to them,” Piazza said of the city’s interaction with the property owners. An outside appraiser is handling the process.
“Based on some of their counteroffers, it’s apparent,” Piazza said of those who don’t intend to settle. “We had someone who wanted 110 percent more than we offered.”
So far, one property owner – Cleveland Clinic – has donated property, Piazza said.
The city had offered the Clinic $12,500 for the property.
The city originally expected to pay $6.1 million for all of the properties, and Piazza said “it’s going to be close” once the counteroffers are all reviewed.
Additionally, the city will not have control over the settlements that go to court.
“We just don’t know how much we’ll have to pay for it,” Piazza said of those properties. “That’s up to a judge.”
Contact Rebecca Turman at email@example.com
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