Mount Pleasant homeowners pack public hearing on Foxconn project

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 13:47:13-04

Neighbors in Mount Pleasant packed the auditorium at the Village Hall for a public hearing on the planned, $10 billion Foxconn development. 

The Village's Community Development Authority voted Tuesday night to finalize the land borders needed for the proposed project. 

According to Mount Pleasant's attorney, Alan Marcuvitz, the village already owns roughly two-thirds of the more than 2,800 acres of land needed to accommodate the massive Foxconn facility that will manufacture liquid crystal display panels. 

Homeowners have been offered 140 percent of the market value of their homes to sell.

At Tuesday night's meeting, Marcuvitz said Mount Pleasant officials are considering declaring the remaining property within the development area as blighted, which would allow the village to invoke eminent domain and force the holdout homeowners to sell. 

Many of the homes would be inaccessible once the Department of Transportation redevelops area roads to better accommodate Foxconn. 

"Even though there might not be a single blighted property within the boundaries of the redevelopment area, the area may still meet the definition of a blighted area which allows the acquisition of non-blighted properties," Marcuvitz said. 

He said state statutes define a blighted area in several ways. 

The definition the Village of Mount Pleasant has cited during its considerations is: "an area which is predominantly open, and which because of obsolete planning, diversity of ownership, deterioration of structures or of site improvements or otherwise substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community," Marcuvitz said. 

Following Tuesday's meeting, Marcuvitz said homeowners seeking to object to the possible use of eminent domain can submit objections, in writing, for 15 days. 

The Community Development Authority is set to consider designating the development area as blighted at its meeting in April. That decision would also require approval from a two-thirds majority of the village board. 

Several homeowners chose to speak out during a public comment period at Tuesday night's meeting. 

"I'm a taxpaying citizen, and I believe I deserve better after 28 years than to just get kicked to the curb and thrown out of my residence," one property owner said. 

"The village is telling us our land is worthless, and at the same time is telling Foxconn it's the best property in the world," said local homeowner Rodney Jensen. "I don't know how you guys can do this."