Mount Pleasant may take remaining properties in Foxconn area through eminent domain

Redevelopment plan recommended to board
Posted at 10:14 PM, May 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 00:09:20-04

Several homeowners in Mount Pleasant are holding out on selling their property for the Foxconn project, but a move Wednesday by the village may pave the way for those home to be taken by eminent domain.

Kim Mahoney says she and her family have lived in her Mount Pleasant home just over a year, but spent so much more time planning and designing.

"This was gonna be our forever home, this is where we were going to live until they shipped us off to the nursing home," she said.

In October, they learned their home is within the area Foxconn needs to build its 22 million square foot manufacturing campus.

Since then, they've been trying to negotiate. The Village of Mount Pleasant is currently offering 140 percent of the appraised value of the home.

"They’re not willing to consider homeowners' offers even though they’re telling the media and everybody that every homeowner has sold their home willingly," said Mahoney. "They’re doing so under the threat of eminent domain."

A redevelopment plan recommended by the Village of Mount Pleasant's Community Development Authority now calls the area where the Mahoney's home is a "blighted area." Meaning the new plan could give the village authority to use eminent domain to take any remaining properties.

Though village officials say that's premature. A statement from the village reads "If eminent domain is utilized under the redevelopment plan, it will only be used as a last resort, and, in terms of residents, would only apply to just a few homes within the entire project area."

"They could treat us right and telling people 140 percent is fair, it might be fair financially," said Mahoney. "But I don’t know any who wanted to leave this area and wants to be threatened that if you don’t sell we’re going to take it it anyway."

The village has already acquired about 80 percent of the land Foxconn needs right now. The plan recommended Wednesday still needs full approval by the Village of Mount Pleasant board.

The village held a public hearing on the redevelopment plan in March, and gave residents a 15-day window to submit comments and objections to the plan.

The Community Development Authority approved the plan on a 6-1 vote. Here's the full statement on the vote from the Village of Mount Pleasant President, David DeGroot:

"Tonight’s vote to approve the redevelopment plan is just one more sign of progress toward Foxconn’s $10 billion, 22 million square foot advanced manufacturing campus. It paves the way for the Village to save millions of dollars because the CDA will have the authority to issue double tax exempt bonds.

What this does not change is the Village’s approach to property acquisition. As it has since the beginning of this process, the Village will continue its efforts to acquire all property needed for the Foxconn development through voluntary agreements with property owners. To-date, that approach has enabled the Village to acquire 100% of the land in the core section of Area 1, as well as 80% of the land in the entire project area – Areas 1, 2 and 3.

The Village will continue to diligently pursue all reasonable efforts to reach agreements with individual property owners. If eminent domain is utilized under the redevelopment plan, it will be only as a last resort, and, in terms of residences, would apply to just a few homes within the entire project area. The use of eminent domain would require separate action and approval from the Village Board."