Eminent domain suit filed: Kane County Chronicle, Geneva IL, 5/9/07

By Kelley Casino

The city [of St Charles MO) says that it hasn’t been able to strike a deal for land that cuts through the site for a proposed Wal-Mart and has filed a lawsuit to seize the property.

In the lawsuit filed last week, the city seeks to condemn 2.88 acres on the city’s east side to build a road connecting Foxfield Drive and Smith Road, according to court documents.

The road would bisect a 30-acre parcel where a more than 200,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter is proposed.

City officials have acknowledged that Wal-Mart would not be able to build the store as presented if the road was built, but added that the intent of the road was not to stop the Wal-Mart but to increase traffic circulation.

Wal-Mart’s market manager Roderick Scott deferred comment until later this week, saying his team needed a chance to review the lawsuit for condemnation before responding to the city’s actions.

In the complaint, the city contends that it has been “unable to agree upon just compensation for the subject property,” and seeks to have a jury to determine a fair price.

Legally, governments are allowed to seize private property for public benefit with fair compensation.

The average condemnation, or eminent domain, case takes 18 months to three years to complete, city attorney Phil Luetkehans said. Either side can appeal a decision.

Approval was given in February to negotiate with the property’s land owner, and after talks failed, the St. Charles City Council voted in April to go ahead with eminent domain to seize the land.

The complaint is filed against West Suburban Bank, as trustee under a 1981 trust agreement, and other “unknown owners.”

Kane County Chronicle, Geneva IL: http://www.kcchronicle.com