Council may move forward with eminent domain process

Avon

By Rebecca Turman

At Monday night’s council meeting, members will move forward with the eminent domain process to obtain properties needed to build the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

During a Nov. 1work session, council members reviewed 12 resolutions “to declare the necessity to appropriate land necessary for the construction of an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.”

“You take the property by eminent domain when you file an action to appropriate the land,” Avon Law Director John Gasior said in an interview prior to the work session. “(Council is) asserting their right under eminent domain to take private property for public use.”

“(We had) 29 parcels (to acquire),” Avon Law Director John Gasior told council members.

“I believe we are down to 12. In some cases, we are close,” he said of reaching a settlement.

Prior to the work session, Gasior said, “The process requires us now to go forward with filing lawsuits. We’ve reached an impasse – I don’t want to say with all 12. We still have negotiations going on.”

He explained the steps that will need to be taken in the upcoming months.

If council approves the resolutions, copies will be mailed to the 12 property owners. At that point, Gasior said property owners will be notified, “You’ve got 30 days now. You know what our last offer was, and we are still willing to listen.”

If settlements cannot be reached, he said the city would file the petitions to appropriate in common pleas court.

“Along with the petition, the main thing we deposit is a check for the amount of money we are willing to pay for the property,” he said.

At that point, the city is “finished, in a sense,” Gasior said.

He told council members once the check is filed with the court, the city can “treat the property as if it is ours.”

That is how a “quick take” works, he said, adding it has already been determined the roadway improvements are needed for the public good, which is “clearly within the scope of eminent domain power.”

The court cases could take up to five years to settle, Gasior said in an interview, adding he doubted they would.

“They are supposed to be court cases that have priority in the system,” he said. “In theory, at least, you could have the road built before the jury has reached a decision. They could argue that the road is not necessary, but the time for that has long passed.

“But that doesn’t stop someone from making that argument.”

The land will become the city’s property. The only issue left is price.

“We are continuing to negotiate, and we have some deals that are probably going to be finalized in the next month, but we know that there are property owners out there that we cannot negotiate with,” Gasior said. “We are on a timetable. We have to make a move here.”

Gasior noted the passage of a resolution “becomes moot” if a negotiation is reached with a property owner.

“We aren’t trying to intimidate anybody or scare anybody into dealing,” he said. “We are at that juncture right now where this has to happen, and we have to take that step.”

Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com

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