KINGSTON TWP. — An issue of “just compensation” for the use of 173.10 square feet of land has caused a negotiating stalemate between the township and one of its prominent business owners.
The lack of agreement has spurred Kingston Township supervisors to authorize the township solicitor to “do all things necessary” to convene a Board of Review, a legal process to settle compensation for eminent domain with Dr. Francis and Susan Collini, owners of The Renaissance Center, 113 N. Memorial Hwy., Shavertown, according to James Reino, township supervisor chairman.
The strip of property owned by the Collinis was one of four parcels the municipality acquired to construct a wider bridge on East Center Street. The bridge construction began in April 2012 and ended in April 2013.
Compensation with three of the landowners was settled several years ago, Reino said, but the township has not been able to reach an agreement with the Collinis.
“We want to get this settled,” Reino said. “The Collinis have rejected our (the township’s) previous offer.”
Kingston Township Manager Kathleen Sebastian said the municipality gave Collini a good faith payment of $1,000 in July 2010. The check was cashed on Nov. 22, 2010, she said.
“It (the land) was appraised at $2,500 by Rosen Real Estate,” Sebastian said. “That is the least amount an estimate could be submitted (for an appraisal).”
But the doctor and his wife are looking for compensation that will cover damages they allege their business sustained during the bridge construction and road-widening project.
Susan Collini said the couple’s building suffered exterior damage that allowed water to enter and mold to grow during the year-long bridge replacement process.
“We had water in the basement, some damage to the side of the building and our landscaping was damaged,” she said. “We repaired it (structural damage) right away. We couldn’t wait for the township to fix it.”
Sebastian said the municipality has no proof the damages referenced were caused by the construction.
Compensation amounts discussed between the Collinis and Kingston Township officials are undisclosed due to the ongoing legal process.
“We want them (Kingston Township) to be fair,” Dr. Collini said.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.