County Board Authorizes Eminent Domain for Olympian Drive
By Jeff Bossert
Champaign County will now be able to use eminent domain to negotiate with landowners for buying property along Olympian Drive.
The County Board’s 15-to-9 vote Thursday night allows County Engineer Jeff Blue to move forward on purchases if talks with two landowners break down before October 1st.
The vote was largely along party lines, but one Democrat, Pattsi Petrie of Champaign, voted with eight Republicans against the move.
They included Mahomet Republican Stephanie Holderfield, who says she opposes the concept of eminent domain under any circumstances.
When we are landowners, that’s our sovereignty,” she said. “I just don’t agree with government coming in and seizing property.”
Three Republicans voted with the majority, Jon Schroeder, Gary Maxwell, and Max Mitchell.
Democratic County Board Chair Pius Weibel says there’s been little opposition to the use of eminent domain of late. The county is in negotiations with two property owners, with the city of Champaign negotiates with a third.
The controversial long-debated Olympian Drive project connects a dead-end road north of Champaign with Lincoln Drive in Urbana, extending it to an industrial area at Interstate-57.