Land Taken By Eminent Domain Questioned: WFSB-TV3, Hartford CT, 9/14/07

East Haddam Takes Property To Build School

Ever since the city of New London took property in its Fort Trumbull section by eminent domain, the issue has remained on the radar screen in Connecticut.

One of the latest cases of eminent domain involved land for a school in East Haddam.

East Haddam is being sued by an estate that owned 150 acres where the town's middle school is being built.

The land was taken from the landowner by eminent domain.

Wyley Peckham, of East Haddam, told Eyewitness News that he's not sure the town should be building on the site.

"My greatest concern about the project is we will be in a continuous legal battle for the next three to five years, at the end of which we may end up either not owning the property or having spent a great deal more than we should have," he said.

Peckham said the town should have put the middle school between the elementary and high schools.

First Selectman Brad Parker said building the middle school between the other schools would require a $1 million septic system. He said that he prefers to continue building while waiting out the legal dispute.

The estate said East Haddam broke the law by not condemning the property within six months of a town referendum on it.

"There is no time limit when you do a taking for a school use," Parker said. "That is what we have done here."

Parker said he believes the issue is more about the estate not getting its asking price for the land, which was double the appraisal East Haddam received.

WFSB-TV3, Hartford CT: http://www.wfsb.com