ELYRIA — The city’s plan to extend sewer services into the southern portion of the city has hit a snag as two property owners in the area will not give the city permission to run sewer pipes through their respective parcels.
So far, negotiations to obtain the 30-foot easements for the southeast interceptor sewer program have not resulted in an agreement. In an effort to move talks along, City Council has authorized the city to use legal actions to obtain the easements.
Law Director Scott Serazin said the city is not seeking to use eminent domain to obtain the easements but could go to court if necessary. The main issue that is holding up the agreement is money, he said.
“This allows us to go to court and say we don’t think these easements are worth as much as they are requesting,” he said. “We have the added benefit of being legally able to service these properties as they fall within our facility planning area. Most of the property owners in the area have settled, so we believe the chances of settlement with these two property owners are very high.”
Serazin said the city will hire an independent appraiser to determine the value of the parcels and the proposed easements. The figures will be presented to the property owners.
Doug Krause is the attorney representing the property owners. He did not return calls for comment.
The two properties are owned by Route 57 Chestnut Ridge LLC and Eaton Township Acquisition LLC. Both parcels run parallel to state Route 57 and are undeveloped.
The intended path of the new sewer has it starting at the sewer interceptor at East River Road and Sandpiper Avenue. It would travel along a portion of Dewhurst Road through the private property easements and under Route 57 to a parcel of undeveloped land on the southeast corner of 57 and Chestnut Ridge Road.
There, the owner of undeveloped land has asked the city for sewer service and is paying an assessment for it. A business with above-ground commercial storage units is the only thing on the parcels.
“We are simply asking to put the infrastructure in for the sewer and the authority to maintain it,” said Aaron Klein, assistant city engineer. “With these easements, we have always compensated property owners based on the value of the property as stated by the county auditor’s office. The problem we are running into is the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District already has acquired easements on the properties, but is paying the owners more than what we are willing to pay, plus have given assurances that should they wish to develop the property LORCO will move their sewer lines.”
Serazin said the city is not prepared to give the owners that kind of reassurance. The easements are at the property line and run along a ditch. With the current setback restrictions in the city, the portion of the land needed for the easement could not be built upon, he said.
Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said getting the sewer into the area promotes development because it fills a very expensive infrastructure need for developers.
Klein said the city still hopes to bid out the project this year with construction to start in the winter. Sewer projects are cheaper to complete in the winter when contractors are plentiful for that kind of work.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or email@example.com.