Sturtevant trustees Tuesday voted unanimously to rescind eminent domain action against SC Johnson over a 2.6-acre parcel of land the village says it needs to relocate Willow Road ahead of the state’s Highway 11 widening project.
After meeting in closed session for 90 minutes to discuss the progress of meetings between a Sturtevant committee appointed by President Steve Jansen and SC Johnson representatives, board member John Johnson made the motion, and Trustee Jayme Hoffman seconded.
During a short discussion of the motion, former Administrator Mark Janiuk clarified that halting eminent domain now doesn’t mean the board can’t pick it up again in the future if they feel it necessary.
Eminent domain action earlier this month was tabled for two weeks so a new negotiation committee could continue meeting with SCJ reps to hammer out an agreement for 2.6 acres in order to redirect Willow Road to connect with 84th Street. The village wants to complete the project next year ahead of the state Department of Transportation plan to widen Highway 11 from 92nd Street to Highway 31.
The land in question lies at the southern tip of Waxdale. Though most of the property is located in Mount Pleasant, a small portion of it crosses into Sturtevant, and the village needs the land to redirect Willow Road.
Trustees voted in May to file a claim of eminent domain when purchase talks weren’t leading to a resolution, which prompted a series of letters between the parties, including one from SC Johnson CEO Fisk Johnson threatening to move Waxdale operations if Sturtevant went through with the eminent domain action.
In the hall with reporters after the meeting adjourned, Attorney Stan Riffle explained that the vote reflected good faith on the part of the village that they’re serious about exploring options.
Riffle is a partner in Arenz, Molter, Macy & Riffle in Waukesha and has represented Sturtevant during sensitive negotiations on a number of occasions through the years. He would not say if the parties were close to a purchase agreement, and he stopped short of confirming that the road relocation option moving toward approval is one of the four plans SCJ commissioned on their own.
“The configuration will be similar to one of SC Johnson’s concepts,” Riffle said. “I think we’re close to a solution for everyone.”
There are not any meetings scheduled, he added.
“No, not right now. We may or may not need to meet,” Riffle said.