An eminent domain case could take months or years to be resolved, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt recently said.
The village voted last month to begin eminent domain proceedings to try to acquire a portion of a man’s private property and build a nearby roundabout. The village also wants a five-year easement.
The Village Board unanimously voted Nov. 20 to start working toward acquiring the land at 901 Cary Road. By eminent domain, the village is authorized to acquire property that is “useful, advantageous or desirable for municipal purposes or public welfare,” according to village documents.
The village hopes to improve the intersection of North Main Street and Cary-Algonquin Road.
“The five-year time frame is due to the lengthy nature of federal projects. The village’s negotiator has negotiated with the owner of 901 Cary Road regarding the land underlying the temporary easement. Compensation was offered in accordance with an appraisal of the property and the temporary easement. However, we have been unable to reach an agreement and are at an impasse,” according to village documents.
Schmitt said the village has tried to negotiate with the property owner for a few feet of his land and a temporary easement on the site so a roundabout can be installed in the coming years. He said the village would pay for it.
“This is day-to-day stuff. We do eminent domains all the time,” Schmitt said. “People don’t understand what an easement is. We want to borrow your land.”
Crews need access to the site’s parking lot to temporarily store equipment during the construction phase, according to the village.
“I think, unfortunately, people don’t understand what we’re doing,” Schmitt said. “I think the real article could be just how much a roundabout could save accidents and money.”
Village officials said the intersection becomes slippery when it snows and is not safe for motorists. Schmitt said a roundabout is the only realistic option to remedy the situation, partly because adding a four-way intersection “could cost millions.”
Ronald Ferraro of Crystal Lake owns the vacant site, according to McHenry County tax records. Ferraro could not be reached for comment.
Schmitt said “nothing has changed” since the village voted. He said Ferraro has not changed his mind, and such proceedings would cease if he did.
Algonquin Public Works Director Bob Mitchard declined to comment, citing ongoing legal proceedings.