Citizens For A Better Norwood 2

Monday, February 12, 2007

Last known Enquirer article re reassessments of Rookwood Exchange parcels

June 27, 2006
Tax on seized property cut
Panel: Eminent-domain ruling reduces the value


A Norwood developer's property tax bill should be reduced because of the Ohio Supreme Court's injunction forbidding the demolition of properties taken by eminent domain, a county tax appeals panel ruled Tuesday.

That court order, which came in a precedent-setting case that will decide whether cities can take property for economic development, was an "unforeseeable and harsh" circumstance that affects the property's value.

The decision was a partial victory for Rookwood Partners Ltd., which hopes to convert 11 acres at Edmondson Road and Interstate 71 into a shopping and office complex called Rookwood Exchange

The county auditor wanted to assess the property at $21.6 million - the price the developer paid the 73 property owners. Three owners sold only after the city condemned the properties, and another three refused to sell. The city took those by eminent domain.
But Rookwood Partners complained that the property is worth next to nothing - $3.2 million - as long as the courts tie up retail development.

The Hamilton County Board of Revision said the value should be whatever the properties would be worth if the residential neighborhood still existed. That amount hasn't been determined by the auditor, but is likely to be about $11 million.

The panel also ruled that the value should be adjusted back to the sales price as soon as the Supreme Court injunction is lifted - rejecting the developer's argument that the sales prices were artificially inflated because owners held out for more money.
Richard Tranter, the lawyer for the developer, said the decision demonstrates the "unintended consequences" of the property-rights case.

"We're the owner. We are saddled with all the burdens of ownership. We have to pay taxes. We're responsible if anything happens there," he said. "But we cannot use the property."


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