Eminent domain cases for hospital debated: Springfield OH News-Sun, 12/7/07

By Samantha Sommer

Lawyers debated in court on Friday issues relating to some of the eminent domain cases in the downtown hospital area involving properties crucial to the development.

The city has filed eminent domain cases against a handful of property owners in the proposed hospital area near Buck Creek, including F. F. Springfield, and Jennifer and Garth Robinson.

The lawyer for the Robinsons, Matthew Fellerhoff, argued Friday that the case should be dismissed because negotiations with the Robinsons are ongoing and haven't reached a point where they were unable to agree.

The Robinsons have been waiting for the city's counter-offer since September, they said. The city offered about $1 million for the five acres with 39,000 square feet in seven buildings. The Robinsons' counter was $5.5 million, which Jennifer Robinson has said came from the average the city paid other businesses.

The city's attorney, Deputy Law Director Andrew Burkholder, said Springfield has acted properly and is glad to continue negotiating, which he said is customary in such cases.

The hearing covered a wide range of other issues including how much time to allow the property owners for discovery and depositions and if eminent domain can be used for a project involving a faith-based hospital.

Probate Judge Richard Carey said he would make a decision on the issues soon, but said he wasn't sure how long it would take.

Springfield OH News-Sun: http://www.springfieldnewssun.com