Homeowners Fight Eminent Domain

Residents say their homes weren't assessed at fair market value.


Homeowners stuck in the middle of an eminent domain battle in Waterbury have received more bad news. The city’s final offer to buy their property to build a school is much lower than they hoped.

Roy Thompson's home was assessed at $139,000, but the city is offering him $111,000.

“All we want is fair market value for our home. That's all we're asking for. Nothing more, nothing less,” Thompson said. “We're paying taxes on an amount and you're giving us an amount that is less than what we're paying taxes on.”

City officials told NBC Connecticut that the struggling real estate market didn’t give them many options.

After two appraisals, this is their final offer.

“The current statues were put in place in an up market, where they could arrive at fair market value; but in a depressed market, people wind up with a value less than their assessed value on their home and to me that's not fair," Democratic State Rep. Larry Butler said.

He tried to increase the payout but had no luck. Now his focus is changing the law so this doesn’t happen to another family.

“I'm going to introduce legislation to fill that gap so that this doesn't happen to any other family anywhere in the state of Connecticut,” Butler said.

Construction on the school is supposed to start this winter. The Thompsons and their two adopted sons want to stay in Waterbury, but can’t make an offer on a new home until this eminent domain case is settled. They’re hiring an attorney and hoping for the best.

“See if we can get fair value market through the court system. At this point, that's really our only avenue,” Thompson said.

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