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Land of Giants challenges village

Creuziger Farms, operators of Land of the Giants pumpkin farm at 11823 Durand Ave. (Highway 11), has challenged the Village of Mount Pleasant in court over land acquisition for Foxconn.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Fans of the Land of Giants pumpkin farm can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the moment: Mount Pleasant withdrew its purchase offers to Creuziger Farms, Inc. on Friday.

Creuziger Farms filed an injunction against the village on Sept. 14 because, according to the lawsuit, the village was attempting to take the Creuziger’s house and barn along Highway 11.

The village filed a temporary limited easement on two parcels of land on the Creuziger property — Crueziger is the largest private owner in the Foxconn Technology Group project area — valued at more than $20 million, based on the formula the village is paying for properties.

The Creuzigers have not sold their land to the village.

A TLE is common among construction projects; it allows for a party to rent space on a piece of private property to place materials and equipment.

Daniel Bach, attorney for the Creuzigers, said the TLE went too far.

The jurisdictional offer

“The jurisdictional offers stated that they were taking a strip of land along Highway 11 from both parcels for the expansion of Highway 11,” Bach said. “If you looked at the map of the project, their TLE, when it got to their house and the barn that they use for the pumpkin business, there’s like a rectangle that comes down from the roadway to include their house and their barn.”

Bach said the Creuzigers would have been completely landlocked and would have no public road to access the property the village has not bought.

“We filed a lawsuit because, according to the jurisdictional offers, they were taking away all access rights that the Creuzigers had to their property,” Bach said. “Including the remaining property that they have, all of the acreage that’s behind there, so they would have no access to it. Plus they were taking down their house and their barn as part of the TLE.”

On Thursday, Bach said, the village filed a motion to dismiss the case; he added the case should be dismissed without prejudice “so that we can bring it again if they do it again somewhere down the line.”

“It’s not that they may not do them again in the future, but for the time being they are rescinding those jurisdictional offers, so that basically takes away the lawsuit,” Bach said. “They essentially agreed to do what we wanted which is to have the jurisdictional offers nullified.”

Alan Marcuvitz, an attorney working with the village to acquire land for Foxconn, said regarding the withdrawal of the offer to Creuziger Farms, Inc.: “Because of a change in schedule for road improvements, the village will not need anything from the land for the expansion of Highway 11 for at least another year.”

“As it has since the beginning of this process, the village will continue to pursue all reasonable efforts to reach voluntary agreements with individual property owners to acquire the property for public infrastructure improvements and the Foxconn development,” Marcuvitz said in a statement.

Bach declined to publicly disclose how much the offer to the Creuzigers was, but said his clients have not been happy with this process.

“Clearly they weren’t pleased with the jurisdictional offers that came down, which were unexpected,” Bach said. “Certainly unexpected in terms of the scope of the taking and finding out that within 20 days if they didn’t agree to the terms of the offer, the village could then go in and file an award of damages and essentially take the property that was described in the jurisdictional offer.”

Creuziger Farms, Inc. was recently paid more than $350,000 in “award of damages” for road work that is being done on three different parcels of land.

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