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Future uncertain for homeowners on Foxconn site

MOUNT PLEASANT (CBS 58) -- Mount Pleasant is still pushing forward with the Foxconn development. The village board approved seven contracts to hire companies to do appraisals and relocation services, in order to acquire land and homes in the path of Foxconn.

Still, many of those homeowners are in limbo, wondering how much they will get for their property and when they have to move.

One neighborhood on Prairie View Drive is home to several families, who will all be moving when Foxconn comes to town.

In February Kim and James Mahoney, along with their 12-year-old daughter, moved in to their brand new home on Prairie View Drive in Mount Pleasant, after nine years of planning and saving.

“We did all the stone on the fireplace, we did the flooring with the help of friends,” James said.

Now Foxconn is planning to build on the Mahoney’s land. And they say they had no idea until the public announcement earlier this month, when officials said they had property agreements for all the land.

“I thought oh my goodness what are we gonna do now?” James said. “We just built this house now we have to leave.”

“When I heard it was under control, it made me angry,” Kim said. “How can you have our property under control when you haven’t even talked to us?”

Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot says it’s true not all homeowners were approached about selling before that announcement.

“We haven’t gone out to some of those in the parameter like on Prairie view drive, because in order to secure the site, we had to demonstrate to Foxconn that we had a lot of it under contract,” DeGroot said.

After the announcement, the Mahoney’s got a letter, saying their home was subject to eminent domain because of planned expansions on Highway H. But after questioning officials, Kim says they acknowledged the Mahoneys don’t live close enough to the road to be impacted.

“If they’re going to convey it to Foxconn and that’s a private development, they have to approach us like a private real estate transaction and treat it that way,” Kim said. “They cannot threaten eminent domain.”

The Mahoneys say they’ve looked at other lots but so far everything costs almost twice what they paid.

“When they tell us they’re going to pay fair market value, you can understand how that makes us feel because we won’t’ be able to build this home again,” Kim said.

DeGroot says after approving contracts Monday, the Village will start working with homeowners.

“We will be approaching them with great sensitivity,” DeGroot said.

At Monday night’s meeting, officials also stated homeowners can draft up an offer and present it. The Mahoneys said that’s the first time anyone has told them that, but if it’s true, they’ll give it a shot.

“The last thing we want to do is stand in the way of this development but we want to be treated fairly,” Kim said.

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