The Village of Ashland, Illinois, does not maintain statutory authority to condemn properties required for flood control. However, via an inter-governmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources, the State was allowed to condemn on behalf of a Village.
This intergovernmental relationship exists in many States. Often, a limitation is placed upon on one governmental agency’s authority to acquire. Frequently, the agency can “piggy back” on another agency with the authority to condemn. Such was the case here in Illinois.
One is likely to see a similar type of arrangement made between the State of Michigan and local communities, allowing the Detroit River International Crossing to be built when impediments were otherwise in the way.
After that, Handy says the village signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources to try to come up with a solution. Handy says the groups tried to negotiate with the Thornleys, but they apparently refused.
Finally, last November, Cass County Judge Bob Hardwick ruled that DNR could take the property via eminent domain on behalf of Ashland. Several months later, Handy says the Thornleys finally started to cooperate.
“Starting in late December or January, the Thornleys did respond to a request to negotiate, and we’ve been negotiating since [the] first of the year,” Handy says. “And here about three weeks ago, [we] did come to a settlement without having to go back into court and have the court decide how much that property was worth.”