There have been many angry articles about the ET Rover project. This firm does represent property owners in the path of the Rover project, so we speak with biased breath. The advice of outstanding Township lawyer, David Lattie, counsel for Atlas Township in Genesee County, Michigan, was for owners to obtain their own appraisals “early” in the process to be able to negotiate. Realistically, this eminent domain proceeding may happen next month, but it is more likely to happen in two or three years. Market demands will change dramatically. Further, at this time there is no guarantee that Rover will pay the appraisal fee until such time as a serious negotiation occurs or a condemnation action is filed. Given this, this firm is of the opinion that it is premature to obtain appraisals at this time. There is nothing to negotiate at this early date, and who knows what is to be taken? Perhaps there will be an oversupply of pipelines, negating the necessity for the Rover pipeline completely.
“There is nothing we can do legally at this point except encourage people to speak out,” Lattie added. “It’s a daunting project and there is a lot of power behind their ability to create their line.” One resident asked, “Is it better to cooperate now or to fight every step of the way?”
Lattie indicated the measure of resistance will not factor into a property owner’s compensation but he recommended that in order to receive fair compensation, they might want to seek an appraisal early on—as that would make them “better armed” for any negotiations.
The township did pass two resolutions, one to oppose the project, and the other to re-route the pipeline in order to protect and preserve area wetlands and woodlands. The township has forms for residents to file regarding denying access. Residents also wanted to know how potential easements and other property changes would affect their tax bill to the township, and Kautman-Jones was unable to answer those questions as well.