Mount Pleasant will offer homeowners in the Foxconn area 40% more for their property than what is required by state law.

The village also said it will pay $50,000 an acre for open land, the same price received by owners who last summer — before the Foxconn project was certain — signed option contracts to sell their property.

“We know the property acquisition and relocation processes are challenging,” Village President Dave DeGroot said in a statement. “As a result, we are making generous, consistent offers to property owners throughout the project area.”

Whether the offers smooth the path to amassing the 2,900 acres sought for the massive Foxconn electronics factory, its potential expansion and adjacent development is still in question. 

Lawyers representing two separate sets of landowners who have balked at the offers indicated Wednesday that they're prepared to keep fighting.

Last week, Mount Pleasant began closing on the purchase of farmland that owners had optioned at $50,000 an acre — a figure observers have said is more than five times the previous going rate for agricultural land in the area.

As of Wednesday morning, the village had acquired the great majority of about 30 parcels totaling some 1,700 acres at a cost of $82 million to $83 million.

But an attorney for the owners of by far the largest single bloc of uncommitted land in the Foxconn area said $50,000 an acre is "way, way, way, way less than the value" of his clients' property. 

David R. Barnes, who represents members of the Creuziger family, said their property — about 420 acres south of Highway 11 and north of Braun Road — should not be regarded as farmland but as the industrial parkland it is earmarked to become.

"It's worth substantially more" than $50,000 an acre, Barnes said. "We've had indications of value at substantially more than that."

He said the Creuzigers are prepared to take the issue to court.

Alan Marcuvitz, attorney for Mount Pleasant, said the village's offer is $50,000 an acre.

"This is America; people are entitled to their opinion," Marcuvitz said. "They're entitled to strive to achieve their goals and their opinion, but that is not going to affect what we will be offering for the property."

The Creuzigers' land, which includes a well-known pumpkin farm, is not in the area that will be the site of Foxconn's factory. Rather, it is just to the north, in an area designated for future expansion by the company.

The 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus itself is to be built on land bounded by I-94 on the west, Highway H on the east, Highway KR on the south and Braun Road on the north. The great majority of that bloc already has been secured under the option contracts.

At the same time, dozens of smaller parcels, most of them home sites, have yet to be acquired. That's where the village's offer to pay 140% of market value comes into play. 

And while large land-holders have accepted deals at prices well above the levels pre-Foxconn, some homeowners have worried about how much they will be compensated, given the possibility that the village could use its eminent domain authority to take property.

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State law requires governments to pay fair market value when exercising eminent domain. Mount Pleasant now will offer 40% more than fair market value — as determined by the homeowners’ appraisers.

The village has accepted at least five proposals from homeowners to sell at 140% of market value, Marcuvitz said.

“The village wants to treat all of its citizens fairly, equitably and uniformly,” he said.

But Erik Olsen, who represents seven home owners who have sued the village in federal court, said different types of property owners are being treated differently. While farmers are reaping "a tremendous windfall" and receiving several times the value of their land, homeowners might get only enough to cover replacement cost in an area where the expected Foxconn development is pushing prices upward, he said.

Olsen said his clients will continue to pursue their lawsuit.

Marcuvitz declined to speak about a pending case, saying the village will make its responses in court.

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