Saturday, January 13, 2007

Land of Opportunity or Land for Opportunists?

Land of Opportunity or Land for Opportunists?

Don’t be confuse by the following dry notice:

Dearborn County Comprehensive Capital Programs Phase I Report and Recommendations will be presented at the Dearborn County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, January 16 at 6:00 PM.

This report is actually the Vieste/Level 5 Engineering Report that appears to have been going on under the table for about a year now. It focuses on projects like the jail expansion and infrastructure needs.

But it’s most controversial element and the one requiring all the “secrecy” is the part where the entire northern section of Jackson Township along I-74 and SR46 to Franklin and Ripley County and ending at the St. Leon town limits is being slated for industrial/commercial development.

This area is about 7 square miles or 4,480 acres of farms and homes owned by some of the oldest families in the county.

Also considered is a NEW interstate access at St. Peter’s Road area as well as the extension of Feller Road through Steinhauser Road to Ripley County.

The words “eminent domain” come to mind because of two things:

1. the plan for a highway interchange at the site previously selected for the Outer Loop Highway option.

2. the idea that the industry and commercial land is the “highest and best use” for this land. Those words are reminiscent of the wording used in the Norwood/ Rookwood Exchange famous eminent domain case, among others. Redevelopment Commissions use them along with the word "blighted" to describe any land use that doesn't produce as much tax as their new use might produce.

The county master plan committee has NOT been consulted regarding this process or plan, though some of us have been askng for information, which has been hard to obtain.

There are NO citizens on the project committee for this Phase 1 report- only county dept. heads and Jim West of the DCEDI. (Dearborn County Economic Development Commission)

A random sample of farmers in that area indicates that none were contacted by anyone official concerning this intended use of their land. One did indicate that a local realtor had inquired just recently about buying land.

$10,000 per acre is the quoted price for the land in the interchange area- however just next door in St. Leon available land has been listed for a couple years for $55-60,000 per acre on the DCEDI site.

Support for economic growth in the region should not be at the expense of the local landowners and farmers. Is anyone concerned about their property rights?

This needs to be thoroughly examined by the public before proceeding.

Come to the commissioners meeting Tues Jan 16th at 6 PM in the ADM building.

Call 537-1040 and hit 0 to talk to the commissioner’s adm. assistant to get on the agenda to speak. They like a week’s notice to be on the agenda, but if your property is in question, perhaps they will waive that requirement.

If not- bring a sign!

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

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