Algonquin in legal fight with condo association over price of land for stormwater drainage

  • Sam Lounsberry/Shaw MediaThe village of Algonquin is in the middle of a legal fight over its attempted purchase of a vacant drainage area from a condo association.

    Sam Lounsberry/Shaw MediaThe village of Algonquin is in the middle of a legal fight over its attempted purchase of a vacant drainage area from a condo association.

 
 
Updated 12/14/2021 12:37 PM

Algonquin officials are battling with leaders of a community of condo homes about how much the village should pay to acquire almost 3 acres of land meant for stormwater drainage.

Village officials offered to buy the detention area on behalf of Algonquin for $26,000, according to a civil complaint the village filed in January. But an October appraisal requested by the Dawson Mill Village Condominium Association said the property is worth as much as $350,000.

 

The dispute went to a bench trial earlier this month, and McHenry County Judge Kevin Costello is set to issue a decision in the case on Dec. 30, court records show.

The land at the center of the dispute is located across Stonegate Road from Algonquin's municipal government complex. It belongs to the condo association, which oversees a neighborhood made up of 26 buildings and a total of 156 condo units, according to the appraisal.

The appraisal was shared with the Northwest Herald by the village of Algonquin's attorney Michael Smoron. Attempts to reach the association's attorney, Bob Prince, were not successful.

The village wants to acquire the land to manage the area's stormwater detention, Smoron said. It also would beautify the area with plantings and continue to maintain it as open space.

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The appraisal requested by the condo association suggested $220,000 of the value arises from the condo association's loss of control over what could happen on the land. It said the association should be compensated for the risk that new buildings could be constructed there and the impact that would have on the value of the Dawson Mill homes and the quality of life for its residents.

A portion of the site also is designated as a wetland, but the rest of the site can be used for recreation by the condo residents.

"The owners will lose control of this existing open space for recreation. While the property may be able to be used for recreational use after, it will be owned by the village and there is no guarantee that this will be the case in the future," according to the appraisal.

Smoron said the village has no intention to build anything there, and that it will remain open space.

The property currently is designated for detention, and the condo association or any other owner would have to go through the village to build anything there, Smoron said.

Getting such a request approved by the village might require reengineering the stormwater flow and detention in the area, he said.

The village's evaluation of the property was based on the values of other strips of empty land that have certain limits on what can be built on them, Smoron said.

"It's going to come down to, we think, the court's determining which sales of property that the respective appraisers have looked at are more comparable to this detention area. Our appraiser looked at properties that had restrictions on their development, by virtue of having wetlands on them," Smoron said.

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