Appeal planned in Luckey eminent domain case

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The owners of property in the Village of Luckey plan to appeal a ruling by the Wood County Common Pleas Court that allows the village to appropriate their property through the eminent domain process.
Zachary Murry, attorney for T&S Agriventures, LLC, owned by Timothy Snyder, Patricia Snyder, Steven Snyder, and Beth Snyder, said his clients will appeal the decision by Judge Mary Mack.
The property covers about 73 acres and includes a former stone quarry.
The village filed a petition in March, 2023 to appropriate the property to construct a public water system for residents. In April, 2023, the defendants filed their response to the petition, challenging the authority of the village to make the appropriation, the necessity of the appropriation, and the offer by the village.
Village mayor Cory Panning testified the village made a good faith offer of $525,000 to purchase the property and had obtained an appraisal listing its fair market value at $435,000 before the offer to the defendants.
However, the parties were unable to reach an agreement on a purchase price, he said.
The owners entered into an agreement with an auctioneer in August, 2021 to sell the property and an auction was scheduled for September, 2021. A month before the auction, the village notified the owners by letter that council had voted unanimously to begin the process of acquiring the property. The letter said village representatives would be on the property to conduct surveys, soundings, appraisals, and other tests to determine if the property was suitable for use by the village.
The village also retained a consultant, Artesian of Pioneer, who said the property was sufficient to construct a water treatment facility and had adequate water supply.
According to court testimony, a buyer’s agent acting on behalf of the village wasn’t permitted to bid at the auction and the property remained unsold.
A certified laboratory analysis showed no issues that would preclude the water in the quarry from being treated and used for consumption by residents.
A proposal by Artesian of Pioneer called for a treatment plant that could process 250,000 gallons per day and maintain 125,000 gallons in an elevated storage tower while meeting Ohio Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The village is now serviced by water wells.
Judge Mack ruled the village followed the proper steps and complied with state law to begin appropriating the property.
“The court further finds that defendants have not met their burden of demonstrating bad faith, fraud, or an abuse of discretion by the village,” the judge wrote. “Based on the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law, the court rejects the challenges raised by defendants and finds in favor of the village as to its authority to make the appropriation, the necessity of the appropriation, and the good faith offer.”
She wrote that the Ohio Constitution “does not require that the taking be immediately necessary, only that the taking is necessary for a public purpose.”
The judge ruled a hearing before a jury to determine just compensation for T&S Agriventures for the property is to be held at least 60 days from the day her decision was filed.
Murry said any compensation hearing wouldn’t take place until the appeal is completed.
A telephone conference on the status of an appeal or mediation is scheduled for April 2.


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