Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cuy Co. Port Authority ignores vital property reports

I have to ask... Is it proper to use the words "competent" and "Cleveland" in the same sentence?

From the PD

A member of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board says he didn't read two key reports before voting at a hastily called special meeting in late 2005 to declare the port's intent to take properties on the Flats east bank for a $230 million project.

Lawyers for land owners who are targets of the "taking" -- known as eminent domain -- say developer John Carney's admission in court Tuesday shows that he and other board members failed to "carefully" consider the key reports and the impact of eminent domain.

While Carney testified he had not reviewed the reports, he said he had confidence that port staff had fully vetted the community development plan and a voluminous blight study of 23 structures and nine vacant lots, north of the Main Avenue bridge.

Both reports were done by the city. Carney and the port board adopted them on Nov. 1, 2005, as part of a plan to use eminent domain to take about a dozen parcels if developer Scott Wolstein was unable to buy them.

"We relied on the city," Carney testified. "They are competent and they had done it before."

Carney's testimony came in the third week of the eminent domain case before Judge John E. Corrigan. The port is suing in Probate Court to take the land Wolstein needs to redevelop 18 acres along the riverfront, with new streets and utilities, 300 dwellings, a marina, park and promenade.

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