St. Joseph County walks away from condemnation lawsuit with farmer in New Carlisle area

“After deciding the price was too high, St. Joseph County has walked away from a lawsuit that could have forced a local farmer to sell his property.

The county had hoped to acquire the 37-acre property in court so that it could build a rail spur south from the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, with the goal of attracting businesses to the industrial area it is developing to the east of New Carlisle. Instead, it scrapped the lawsuit and is looking to work around Kenneth Huston’s property by finding a less costly route.

The change of plans comes after three court-appointed appraisers decided the vacant land on Edison Road is worth $1.4 million — or nearly $38,000 per acre — as part of the eminent domain lawsuit. That was based on sales of industrial properties in the area, including the power plant under construction next to Huston’s property.

The price set in court was more than four times the county’s offer of $344,000 — or $9,300 per acre — that was set by two appraisers hired by the county; the county’s offer was sharply lower because it only used sales of agricultural properties for comparison — not industrial.”

read the entire article

Source: Booker, Ted. South Bend Tribune 21 December 2017.