6/17/2005

Grassroots to host debate on eminent domain: York (PA) Daily Record, 6/16/05

Participants will include York County commissioner and Realtors representative

By Teresa Ann Boeckel

Supporters of a proposed park at Lauxmont Farms will debate a Realtors association official this month about the use of eminent domain.

Grassroots, a local organization, is hosting the debate at 7 p.m. June 28 at Sam and Tony's Celebrations, 243 W. Market St. in York.

Grassroots is not taking any side on the issue, said Linda Seligson, a member of the advisory committee. The purpose is to inspire public debate.

Panelists will include Doug Kilgore, York County vice president commissioner; Jackie Kramer, executive director of the Farm and Natural Lands Trust; and Steve Snell, executive officer of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties Inc.

York County commissioners voted 2-1 last year to take a parcel, known as Highpoint, by eminent domain for a park overlooking the Susquehanna River in Lower Windsor Township.

Lancaster County developer Peter Alecxih Jr., who planned to build homes on the 79-acre parcel, is fighting the taking in court.

County officials remain in negotiations with the Kohr family, which owns Lauxmont Farms. If talks fail, the county would consider using eminent domain, President Commissioner Lori Mitrick testified in court last week.

Kilgore said he will talk about the benefits of the park project and the plans for it.

"I think we have to do everything in our power to get out and talk about the project and the benefits of it," he said. "I think the more information we can get out to the people, the better we are."

Snell said he isn't interested in talking about the park. He wants to address Highpoint and the issues that eminent domain raises.

Snell said he decided to participate in the debate because the issue has lacked a thorough public discussion.

Seating will be limited for the debate, Seligson said. It will be first-come, first-served.
  • At issue: York County officials want to acquire part of Lauxmont Farms, a parcel known as Highpoint and some neighboring utility lands for a proposed park in Lower Windsor Township. Supporters call it the Susquehanna Riverlands Preservation Project.
  • The latest: Grassroots, a local organization, is hosting a debate on eminent domain. The county used that power to condemn Highpoint and may use it if negotiations fail in attempts to acquire Lauxmont Farms.
  • Debate time: 7 p.m. June 28 at Sam and Tony's Celebrations, 243 W. Market St. in York. Seating is limited to 150 people.



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