3 Lost Rabbit lawsuits cleared for development
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 1:00 PM
Once Madison County forms an urban renewal district, the way will be open for new development at Lost Rabbit.
Board Attorney Mike Espy reported to the Madison County Board of Supervisors on Monday that all legal impediments to a settlement deal over Lost Rabbit have been overcome.
Last week Espy traveled to Chicago to negotiate a settlement between Allstate and Metropolitan Bank, a separate lawsuit that had been filed in the matter.
"Both parties were happy at the end of the day," Espy said. "I can't give details. We're not in that lawsuit."
The settlement included all the liens accompanying Metropolitan Bank. The bank had foreclosed on the marina located on the property, leading contractors to file liens against unpaid work.
Espy said this deal was crucial to the overall omnibus settlement agreement reached earlier this year.
"As far as I know there are no further legal impediments stopping development at Lost Rabbit," he said. "That's important because the Metropolitan Bank one included the marina. [It's] an enticement for development at Lost Rabbit."
Espy added that both Allstate and Metropolitan Bank agreed to market their properties together for future development.
"We're on the fast-track now," he said.
Details of the settlement were not released, and attempts to contact representatives of Allstate and Metropolitan Bank were unsuccessful as of press time.
This was the last of three lawsuits looming over the 260-acre development at the end of Hoy Road.
The main lawsuit was filed by Robert and Amanda Robison over Public Improvement Development (PID) assessments that were placed on their home after a PID was created and without their knowledge.
Another potential lawsuit was between Allstate and the law firms that did work to create the Lost Rabbit PID that has since become defunct.
Last week, Espy and consultant Steve Rogers appeared before the Madison County Planning and Zoning Board and presented the urban renewal district plan that was unanimously approved.
Espy said this was the first step in the process to creating the district that is the centerpiece of the overall settlement plan.
A public hearing will be scheduled for July 7 for the urban renewal district.
Earlier this year, Espy brokered an $18 million settlement agreement to help jumpstart the development.
In 2008, over $18 million of bonds, insured by Allstate, were issued by the PID to build infrastructure agreements. Afterwards, 143 homes were "carved out" of the PID because they were built prior to the PID's formation and not subject to the assessments.
This caused the remaining properties to incur assessments of several thousand dollars. Allstate later picked up lots in a tax sale.
The settlement agreement will eliminate the PID and instead create the urban renewal district, with the county issuing $5.235 million in bonds.
Assessments and 17 mills worth of taxes from Lost Rabbit property owners will be used to pay Allstate back over a 25-year period.