After a slight delay, another step in Worthington's process for acquiring land for the Northeast Gateway is expected Monday, June 3.
The Northeast Gateway refers to the renovation and redesign of the major intersection on the north side of the city, just south of Interstate 270, at Worthington-Galena, East Wilson Bridge and Huntley roads.
After a May 6 first reading of an ordinance that would start the process of acquiring parcels via eminent domain if necessary, Worthington City Council on May 20 tabled a public hearing on it to allow more time to notify property owners.
Also on May 6, City Council approved a resolution declaring the necessity of appropriating the land.
City law director Tom Lindsey said at that time the resolution was the first of two steps for the potential proceedings. The resolution declared the intent to acquire parcels through eminent domain; the second step, the ordinance, would authorize the action of acquiring land through eminent domain via the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, he said.
"This is the statutory requirement that you intend to proceed in this fashion," Lindsey said May 6. "Saying you're going to do it isn't the same as the actual filing."
Lindsey said city officials asked that the public hearing be postponed to allow more time to send notices to property owners.
"We didn't get those out as quickly as we should have," he said.
Tabling the public hearing also postponed a vote on the ordinance to authorize the appropriation of property and easements.
However, City Council made some headway on other parcels May 20, approving the acquisition of 400 E. Wilson Bridge Road and 729 Huntley Road, also known as parcel numbers 5 and 19. The acquisitions were approved 6-0, with council member Doug Smith absent.
The city purchased 400 E. Wilson Bridge Road for $113,000 and 729 Huntley Road for $43,000, Lindsey said.
Lindsey previously said the project has more than 100 related "real-estate interests."
He said no property owner has expressed serious opposition to the project, and they would be informed of the city's intent to acquire their property through eminent domain if necessary.
Lindsey said the city has been negotiating with property owners, but in some cases, they haven't agreed on a price.
When property is taken or appropriated for public use, the government is required by law to pay the owner "just compensation," according to ohioattorneygeneral.gov's FAQ section. Under Ohio law, just compensation is defined as the "fair market value" of the property taken, the website said.
"Fair market value is the amount of money which could be obtained on the market at a voluntary sale of the property," according to the website. "It is the amount a purchaser who is willing, but not required to buy, would pay and that a seller who is willing, but not required to sell, would accept, when both are fully aware and informed of all the circumstances involving the value and use of the property."
Lindsey said the city had a July 1 filing deadline. He said the negotiation process has been started and that the city intends to wait until late June to continue with eminent-domain proceedings.