September 1, 2014

Elyria
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Avon claims eminent domain to get interchange property

AVON — The city took another step Monday night toward getting the land needed to build the new Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road.

Council voted at its meeting to declare the necessity to appropriate land through eminent domain of 12 properties totaling close to 30 acres.

There are about 30 properties or pieces of properties needed to build the interchange, which will serve the new Cleveland Clinic project just north and east of the proposed interchange, along with other development expected to come with the Clinic site. The city has reached agreements with 18 of them, said law director John Gasior.

This step was necessary if agreements can’t be reached with the owners of the 12 properties still in talks with the city, Gasior said. If there’s no agreement, the next step would be letting a court decide.

One homeowner, Frank Root, spoke at the meeting and said that the city’s offers for his property, initially $130,000 and later $203,000 were “ridiculous.”

Gasior said Root had not wavered from his counter-offer of $300,000.

Gasior explained that the city had to follow what the real estate consultants and appraisers certified by the Ohio Department of Transportation gave as appraisals of the property when it came to making orders.

“This is taxpayers’ money,” he said. “We can’t just give it out for no good reason. We have strict guidelines when negotiating settlements.”

He invited Root to call him today to continue negotiations.

Gary Nagel said his concern was issues over drainage on his family’s property. Gasior said it was more of a matter for the engineers and not Council, Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the city would need to address it.

“We have to make sure the water flows off their property and doesn’t flood,” he said.

Gasior assured Nagel the city would work with him to address the issue.

The city, working with real estate consultants TranSystems out of Poland in Mahoning County, has been in negotiations with property owners since June, Gasior said.

While there is no set deadline for negotiations, he said, the issue will have to be settled either by negotiations or in the courts before the project is slated to being next spring.

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or mhebert@chroniclet.com.