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Published: Tuesday, 1/21/2014 - Updated: 7 months ago

City threatens eminent domain

Toledo, AT&T Ohio deadlocked over parcel sought for road work

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The city of Toledo and AT&T Ohio have reached an impasse over the sale of a small piece of land, forcing the Collins administration to begin the process of eminent domain against the telecommunications company.

“We have been trying to negotiate a fair price for this property,” said Robin Whitney, Toledo’s director of public utilities.

The city plans to widen parts of Dorr Street in West Toledo so it can build center median islands and designated turn areas along the roads between Byrne Road and Westwood Avenue.

Ms. Whitney said the project requires the city to buy less than 0.19 acre of land. The city has offered to buy the company's property, which includes an easement and portion 3332 Dorr.

Company representatives did not respond to emails seeking comment. AT&T Ohio is a subsidiary of AT&T Inc., the global telecommunications giant that is the largest mobile telephone provider in the United States.

The resolution before council “starts the process and states the city’s intent,” said Jamie Miller, the city’s senior real estate specialist.

Councilman Lindsay Webb said AT&T officials might view the city’s request differently if council adopts the eminent domain resolution. “They wanted $60,000 for the easement and we have offered $30,000,” Ms. Webb said. “We haven’t had much luck getting them to communicate with us, so starting the eminent-domain proceedings may get their attention and perhaps take more seriously what [the city is] talking about.”

Council could vote next week on the request. It would have to approve a follow-up ordinance for the mayor’s office to officially file an eminent-domain request in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

City Law Director Adam Loukx said the city uses eminent domain commonly for street and sewer work. “Typically they do not go to trial,” Mr. Loukx said. “ We did at Secor and Monroe for the widening there .... Most of the time, the landowner will make a deal with you and sometimes they won’t, so you have to go to trial.”

Last year, the Bell administration said it would consider eminent domain to acquire homes to proceed with the expansion of the city’s drinking water treatment plant in East Toledo.

In 1999, Toledo used eminent domain to remove 83 homes and 15 businesses in North Toledo centering on Stickney Avenue near I-75 to allow construction of the $1.2 billion Toledo Jeep Assembly plant.

In other business, council reviewed a resolution to support low-income housing tax credits for the third phase of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Collingwood Green Senior Community.

A 65-unit building, which cost $12.7 million, was completed last year. It was the first phase of a $46 million project at Collingwood Green which will include 272 housing units for low and middle-income families, a community building, and a park.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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