HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – It’s a case of eminent domain concerning the intersection of Oakridge Road and 161st in Westfield. It’s now a four-way stop, but city officials say the best way to get traffic moving is to build a roundabout.
However, there’s a problem – a house is sitting right in the middle of the city’s plans and the homeowner doesn’t want to move out. Sandra Vincent and her daughter, Leah, say this property is about much more than just a house, it’s their family history.
Drivers are getting impatient with the parked project because the intersection is a busy one.
“It’s horrible, you see 20 or 30 cars lined up at the stop sign trying to get through at rush hour,” driver Rob King said.
“During rush hour you can wait up to five minutes to get through the intersection. 40 cars in a line waiting to get through.” driver Andy Ringness said.
While sitting at the stop signs, drivers stare at a sign stating a roundabout will be built soon.
“Well it’s been sitting there for almost two years now, they haven’t done anything. I’m beginning to wonder if Westfield is ever going to get off it’s you-know-what and do something,” Ringness said.
Mayor Andy Cook says the delay is Vincent, who has lived there since she was an infant.
“It’s my home. It’s where I grew up,” Vincent said.
Vincent’s parents bought the land back in 1948 and now the city wants to pick it up at fair market value. An amount, Vincent says, does not equal emotional value.
“I know I’ve been accused of holding out to get rich. That has nothing to do with it what-so-ever,” Vincent said.
Vincent and her daughter are battling it out with the city in court. Her attorney, Tim Stoesz, is fighting to recoup a fair amount for the home, but Vincent said it’s a place she planned on never leaving.
“They’ve destroyed my life, it’s that simple and there’s no dollar amount you can put on that,” Vincent said.
The Vincents are scheduled back in court Monday, although their attorney did file a motion for change of judge on Thursday, so that could delay the process.
The motion states the wife of Judge Richard Campbell is the treasurer of the Hamilton County Republican Party. The City of Westfield is the plaintiff in the case. The motion states that Judge Campbell’s wife would have worked closely with Westfield Mayor Andy Cook and that the city attorney is also closely connected with the Hamilton County Republican Party.