Delaware County will use eminent domain to acquire land needed for a roundabout at the intersection of Home Road and Concord Road.

Delaware County will use eminent domain to acquire land needed for a roundabout at the intersection of Home Road and Concord Road.

The county has been unable to reach a deal with three homeowners who own land adjacent to the intersection, Delaware County engineer Chris Bauserman said.

Commissioners on Aug. 22 started the process to appropriate the property.

"This resolution details three properties that we have tried to negotiate a settlement to purchase their property for the improvements at this intersection. We have been unable to reach a settlement," Bauserman said.

The resolutions, which were passed by a 3-0 vote of the commissioners, declare the necessity and intent to appropriate the property. Filing the appropriation itself is the last legal step that the county needs to take, said assistant prosecutor Aric Hochstettler, who attended the meeting to field legal questions.

"What will happen is my office will file a complaint and it will proceed just like any legal action," Hochstettler said. "They will have the opportunity to answer. They also have the opportunity to demand mediation."

A mediator would be appointed by the court, Hochstettler said. The county would have to pay the mediator fees and mediation sessions could be held at the mediator's office or at the courthouse.

Two of the property owners object based on finances and the third opposes the roundabout's design, Hochstettler said.

"I think it's important to note that we're only doing this because we feel the necessity of doing it for the betterment of the infrastructure of the entire county," commissioner Tommy Thompson said. "It's not anything aimed particularly at these folks. It just so happens that these three folks are the ones there. I wish it could be done other ways, but it can't."

Bauserman said the county is being forced to appropriate the land because the land owners are asking for more money than appraisers have said the property is worth.

"We want to pay them every cent that they're entitled to -- no more, no less -- because it's taxpayer money. I don't think it would be responsible for us to pay significantly more than we think it's worth, and this (appropriation) will allow the court or jury to decide that," Bauserman said.