Why Kitchen Table Meetings Do Not Work

The Indiana Department of Transportation is by its nature a public agency intending to serve the public. But the Department does not always “help” individuals who are about to be acquired. The notion that INDOT will contact individual owners for “kitchen-table meetings” with a third party appraiser implies that somehow the whole situation is collegial program. Realistically, the Department of Transportation agents would love to sit down with the owners and know all the owner’s positives and negatives. However, the owner comments may be taken out of context and utilized at some future trial. Nothing could be more detrimental to the owner. Below is a page of warnings to property owners, written by this firm years ago, but still instructive.

“The state estimates that in a worst-case scenario it could acquire as many as 279 homes and 96 businesses. But the exact route won’t be determined until 2018, and the amount of land acquired could be less.

Under the powers of eminent domain, the state can take private property for public use. In the first five sections of the highway project, the state paid $184 million for 348 properties.

When the properties the state needs are identified, INDOT will contact owners for in-person “kitchen table meetings,” and a representative will be assigned. A third-party appraiser will value the property, which will be reviewed by a second appraiser. To request a change in the appraisal, the owner must submit documentation to back it up.”

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