Randall refuses eminent domain appraisal from county for Highway F realignment

A map of the Highway F relocation project distributed by the county in 2015.

Randall officials continued to express objection to the county’s realignment of county Highway F by rejecting an appraisal of .019 acre in a town park that the county is seeking to obtain for the project.

The appraisal sets the value of the land at $400.

The county is relocating Highway F from Highway O to Highway EM. The project will eliminate the existing split intersections of Highway F and Highway O creating one intersection located at the existing northerly location. In addition, the existing intersection of Highway F and Highway EM, known as the Triangle, will be reconstructed. 

On Thursday, the town Plan Commission recommended to the Town Board rejecting the appraisal in a 4-1 vote. Member Bruce Melling was the only vote against rejecting the appraisal with some members absent.

“If they want the land, let them take it,” said Plan Commission member Ken Mangold, who made the motion to reject the appraisal. Of the value of the offer, he said, referring to the county “they’re real generous.”

The Town Board took the Plan Commission advice and also rejected the offer in a 3-2 decision, with Chairman Bob Stoll and Supervisor Randy Kaskin voting against rejecting the appraisal.

Stoll argued during the deliberations of both bodies that rejecting the appraisal was an empty gesture considering the county’s powers to ultimately take possession of the land regardless. He said he felt it would have been more constructive to go along with the process, but once again voice the town’s objections to the project.

“It’s not a matter of giving permission,” Stoll said. “It’s their project.”

While acknowledging it is at times unpopular, Stoll also defended the use of eminent domain powers for useful public work projects, saying that without eminent domain “we’d still be horse and buggy. There would be no interstate highway system.”

Eminent domain is defined by Google dictionary as “the right of a government or its agent to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.”

The Randall town government has a history of objecting to the Highway F realignment project. In 2015, the Town Board voted unanimously to send a resolution opposing the project to the county.

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