John Wirchanski is fighting with the city of Dublin over land that has been in his family for more than 170 years.

John Wirchanski is fighting with the city of Dublin over land that has been in his family for more than 170 years.

Wirchanski owns about 100 acres of farmland at the intersection of Post Road and U.S. 33.

The city of Dublin wants to take 20 acres of his land located off Industrial Parkway, north of state Route 161. U.S. Route 33 bisects the area. Wirchanski's land, in Union County, is the biggest piece of land the city is trying to acquire.

Dublin is looking to reconfigure the interchange at U.S. 33 and state Route 161 near Plain City. Wirchanski disagreed, but lost the battle. Now, he's seeking a fair price for his family's land.

Dublin is looking to build a partial cloverleaf interchange. Wirchanski suggested increasing the size of the existing ramps instead, but said Dublin didn't agree with him.

Wirchanski is also resisting four roundabouts Dublin wants to install. Three roundabouts are planned along state Route 161 and one at Industrial Parkway.

"Most everyone in the area agrees (the roundabouts are) ridiculous because of all the truck traffic we have here," Wirchanski said. "They're for residential areas, not for industrial areas or really high-traffic areas where there are a lot of people coming in who have never been in one before."

Dublin director of engineering Paul Hammersmith disagreed. He said the roundabouts will not be a problem and are designed for higher volumes of traffic.

On Aug. 4, Dublin city council passed a resolution to appropriate 19.5 acres of Wirchanski's land for the interchange.

As part of the process, the city notified the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said Barb Cox, Dublin managing engineer.

ODA communications director Cindy Brown in a letter said section 929.05 of the Ohio Revised Code requires Dublin to notify the ODA before it appropriates any farmland. The section is designed to make sure the surrounding agricultural area is not harmed, the letter said. If the ODA has any objections, a hearing will be scheduled.

"Dublin has the right to take my land," Wirchanski said. "The only argument, after the approval of the department of agriculture, would be for valuation."

Wirchanski said if he and Dublin cannot agree on a price, the matter will go to a jury trial.

"The jury trial would be totally about value of the land taken and the damage to what is left. Dublin has seriously underestimated the damage it is doing to my remaining land."

Bob Beehal, Wirchanski's attorney, said Dublin has offered to pay $6.88-million. Beehal said the offer includes the land Dublin is taking and the diminished value of Wirchanski's remaining land.

"The remaining land is less valuable because it doesn't front 161," Beehal said. He said the offer has not been accepted.

Beehal said appraisers are currently looking at the land, which will determine Wirchanski's asking price.

Wirchanski said Dublin is already in over its head.

"When (Dublin) realized how much (the interchange) was going to cost in terms of design, engineering, land acquisition, construction, it was too late," Wirchanski said. "We're already up to $65-million and probably will end up around $85-million or $95-million. But so much has already been spent, there's no hope of turning back for them right now. So, I think most of the energy has been spent on devising ways to make it look like it doesn't cost as much as it really does."

Hammersmith said Wirchanski's claims about the budget are wrong. Hammersmith said current estimates state the entire project will cost $55-million.

Hammersmith admitted the cost of the project has increased since initial estimates.

"It coincides with the normal rate of inflation," Hammersmith said, noting that construction costs have increased more than the rate of inflation.

Wirchanski said he battled with Dublin for four years about the interchange.

"The argument was over Dublin's sensibility in taking land to build an interchange that did not need to be built with such extravagance," Wirchanski said.

Wirchanski wants to use his remaining land to create a retail development called Hall's Corner.

"Hall's Corner is the name of the farm now and has been for about a century. The Hall's Corner retail center will be on the eastern part of the farm off Hyland-Croy Road. The actual 'corner' that Hall's Corner was named for will be taken by the city of Dublin and paved over," he said.

"This entire roadway system was designed to limit the possible development of my land and at the same time improve Dublin's ability to develop its land," Wirchanski said.

Hammersmith said the opposite is true.

"I think Hall's Corner will be a benefactor from all those improvements at the interchange. We're paying fair market value for the land," Hammersmith said.

Wirchanski and Dublin first began discussions in 2002, Hammersmith said. He said Wirchanski's property wasn't rezoned from agricultural to commercial until May 2007, about five years after the city outlined its plans for the interchange improvement with Wirchanski.

However, Wirchanski never believed there to be any dialogue between himself and Dublin.

"We were called into the city of Dublin and told this is exactly what's going to happen. We had several meetings, my mother and father and I, with the city engineer, city attorney and finally (city council member Michael Keenan) after a year and a half," Wirchanski said.

"All of these meetings, including the one with the councilman, turned out to be Dublin telling me what was going to happen," Wirchanski said. "They were not conversations, they were one-sided. And it really made me very angry and it hurt my family very much. After we had been here so long ...to be told what was going to happen with no conversation and no back and forth at all. I don't feel we were ever listened to."

While Wirchanski believes the city has bullied him and not listened to his ideas, Hammersmith contends there was an exchange of ideas.

"I thought we had a dialogue at the time," Hammersmith said. "He didn't agree with what we were doing; we couldn't accommodate what he wanted done."