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Monday, February 27, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - "St. Joseph Co. to use eminent domain for farmland near power plant"

Interesting long story today in the South Bend Tribune, reported by Ted Booker [ILB emphasis added] - some quotes:

NEW CARLISLE — As construction on a power plant near here moves forward, St. Joseph County has decided to try to acquire nearby farmland by eminent domain after it deadlocked with the owner over a price.

The eminent domain proceeding could force Kenneth Huston, owner of the 37-acre property on Edison Road, to sell his land to the county for a price decided in court.

The county, which needs the property to service an industrial park planned in the area, offered Huston $344,000, or about $9,300 per acre, for the land after determining its appraised value.

But Huston, a farmer who harvests crops on the land, rejected that offer and made a counter offer of $1.8 million, or nearly $50,000 per acre.

That's more than five times what the county was willing to pay for the land, which doesn't have any buildings. It is to the immediate west of the St. Joseph Energy Center, a natural gas-fired power plant that is under construction and is expected to open by June 2018.

Huston said that the sale price of a 93-acre neighboring parcel for the new power plant helped determine his offer. That parcel was sold by a Kenneth Sebasty in 2015 to the St. Joseph Energy Center for $7.5 million — more than $80,000 per acre.

"I don't understand how they can take ground away from me. They say they offered me market value for it, but the ground right next to it is worth a lot more," he said. "I planned on my boy having that ground to farm for the rest of his life, and therefore I'm going to lose income on the ground for the next 45 years."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 27, 2017 09:25 AM
Posted to Indiana Government