UNANIMOUS DENIAL … The Williams County Commissioners voted “no” unanimously to a motion made to approve the right of way permit application submitted by the Village of Pioneer for water transmission lines necessary for the AquaBounty project. (PHOTO BY ANNA WOZNIAK / THE VILLAGE REPORTER)
By: Anna Wozniak
The Williams County Commissioners met for a special administrative meeting on Wednesday Sept. 13, 2023 at 10 a.m.
The meeting lasted nearly three hours and had two recesses. The first was 10 minutes at 11:20 a.m., and the second was a 20-minute long deliberation at 12:25 p.m.
After deliberating with their lawyers, the Williams County Commissioners voted unanimously to deny the Village of Pioneer’s right of way work permit for the installation of about a mile of 20-inch waterline, capable of transmitting up to 10 million gallons of water a day from the water field along CR S to the industrial park.
Eminent domain, the process through which the government takes away private property, has two restrictions.
The first is that the land must be taken for public use, and the second is that the landowner must get “just compensation” for the land taken.
Details surrounding the denial mostly circulate around whether or not this waterline is to be considered a public utility, as the only perceived public benefits would be a few fire hydrants and the capability to offer other corporations the same opportunity to purchase water from private landowners along CR S that are on the water field.
Because the Commissioners found that the waterline would be installed with the major purpose to provide a transmission method for water sold by a private, non-regulated entity (property owners along CR S) for sale to a private entity (AquaBounty and other corporations in the industrial park), the right of way work permit was denied.
Anna can be reached at email@example.com