6 WWW.OHIOFARMER.COM. DECEMBER 2008
we were in eonla I wilh William llankinsons' farm Is
By TIM WHITE
I By TIM WHITE we were in contact with William Hankinsons' farm. Also, 13 acres
I Key Points Goldman when we got word from would be taken, a portion of
"The idea is to pay a fair
compensation," Makowski says.
D Hankinson remembers • Eminent domain can be fought ODOT [the Ohio Department of which the state valued at $5,000 "Any appraiser ODOT uses is
when State Route 161was in court. Transportation]," Ed says. per acre. Total compensation licensed and bound to follow
a rolling country lane with "1told him right away to be was far less than the market
• Farmers need to find expert appraisal standards. They work
so little traffic that he and his ready for a shock when he sees may have been willing to pay.
help to settle disputes. from actual market activity in
friends could play in the middle how little the state's appraiser "I guarantee you that if they the area."
of the road without interruption • Few eminent domain cases
actually go to court. will be offering," Goldman says. had put a for sale sign, they Even when a property acqui-
or parental concern. would have had to call law en- sition is taken to court, the pro-
"We'd go out and pop the tar Targeted again forcement to handle the crowd cess of negotiation continues,
bubbles with our bare feet," re- Alexandria has been squeezed Ed makes it clear he is not of buyers, and the selling price he says. "We get updated ap-
calls the retired farmer. by mega development in New against change and that he un- would have been far greater praisals, and any additional
That changed in 1956 when Albany to the west and pros- derstands that the highway im- than the state offered," says information the landowner
the state of Ohio decided the perous suburban growth in provement is needed to serve Goldman. provides is used to help reach
road needed to be widened and Granville to the east. the growing new population. With his partner Mike a settlement. Both parties need
leveled for heavier use. A 24- Around 1998,the Hankinsons "We just want the compensa- Braunstein, Goldman has fo- to keep an open mind."
year-old Ed was just back from and their neighbors got word of tion to be fair," he says. "Their cused on eminent domain cases For the Hankinsons, the
duty in Korea and helping with plans by the state to once again plan cut our farm in half. It for the past 15 years. "It's a spe- court hearing took only three
the farm work. improveSR 161.Eventually, they took away two rental houses, cialized field that does not have days. They testified, as did sev-
Under eminent domain law, attended a regional meeting the steer feedlot, a silo and the a lot of experienced attorneys," eral appraisers.
the state paid $27,000 in 1956 where they were told the new barn lot." he says. In all, the two repre- "It's not complicated,"
to move two houses and a barn design included widening it to The changes called for sented 26 of the more than 70 Goldman says. "The jury under-
owned by his family. An aerial four lanes and adding a ser- separating half of the original landowners involved in the SR stood that the appraisals they
photo of the farm shows a vice road along each side of the farm, and providing "substitute 161 expansion. were being shown justified a
green stripe where the old road highway. The Hankinsons were access, which reduced the ulti- "A lot of folks just figured higher value, and they appreci-
used to run in front of the farm- prepared. mate development opportuni- they couldn't fight city hall," ated the damage to the build-
house. "We had dealt with an at- ties," says Goldman. Six lanes Goldman says. "They believed ings and to the business by
torney on some estate plans, so of traffic would run through the the state's offer was the best having it chopped in half. They
Eminent domain action deal they could get, and they saw that the business would be
"My Dad was easygoing, and took it. It's a shame." substantially reduced by the
when they said they needed to
residual property after the emi-
take action, he didn't resist," Fair compensation nent domain action.
says Ed, who still helps run the Rick Makowski, chief of the "They were offered $597,000
combine for the couple that Transportation Division of the for land and damages. The jury
rents the farmland. He and his Ohio Attorney General's office, awarded them $1.67 million."
wife, Betty, live in the house says in his 25 years of experi- He also points out that once
where he grew up. ence, about 10% or 11% of the a suit is filed, the state deposits
He recalls watching as the properties that have been ac- the money it has offered for the
state's moving team winched quired have gone to court, and property into an account that
the farm's other homes along no more than half of those have the owner or mortgage holders
slowly on pipe rollers and gone to a jury trial. have access to. That money can
planks. "The electric wire was
be used for the lawsuit.
rolled out behind it, and they
MEMENTO: Ed Hankinson's "Our attorneys had their
didn't have to worry about
childhood home was moved for ducks in a row," Ed says. "Ifyou
indoor plumbing at the time,"
SR 161 expansion in 1956. Only get in a situation like this, you
a photo is left after the state's need attorneys who know what
Much has changed since most recent acquisition of his they are doing and have spe-
then. Their little town of
l property. cialized in this kind of work."