Landowner appealing Hononegah eminent domain decision: Rockford IL Register Star, 1/24/07

By Sarah Roberts

Former Roscoe [IL] village engineer Chris Hodges is appealing a jury’s recent decision that he must sell 23 acres to the Hononegah School District for $209,300.

More than a year after the district filed an eminent domain lawsuit against Hodges, a jury decided in October that Hodges’ land — near the intersection of McCurry and Willowbrook roads, where Hononegah plans to build a second high school — was worth $9,100 an acre.

Hodges says that his land is worth more because of the $43 million NorthPointe wellness campus Beloit Memorial Hospital is building adjacent to his property.

Hodges contends that the School District knew about the hospital project beforehand and did not tell the appraiser it hired to examine Hodges’ property.

At last month’s School Board meeting, Hodges proposed selling slightly more than 8 acres to the School District and 8 acres to Roscoe, at $30,000 an acre. He and his wife would donate the remaining 7 acres, Hodges said.

Neither the district nor the village was interested in his plan, Hodges said, so he filed an appeal earlier this month with the 2nd District Appellate Court in Elgin.

Attorneys for both parties are submitting initial paperwork and will eventually turn over court transcripts and exhibits from the eminent domain trial.

The appellate court will not hear new testimony and will use only documentation from the eminent domain trial to make its decision.

The process could take up to 18 months.

Rockford IL Register Star: http://www.rrstar.com