Armed with determination and a Tribune editorial, the Bohns took their complaint directly to Gov. Rick Snyder — and won!
Their house sits on roughly 10 acres of land along the proposed route of M-231, which will run through Robinson Township. The Bohns told the governor that the Michigan Department of Transportation was going to take portions of their Robinson Township property and, in return, they would be left with only about 3 acres and a freeway in their backyard.
We all have heard tragic stories about state and other governmental units unfairly taking property through the eminent domain process. But this one had a happy ending.
Bohn was upset when he was told of MDOT’s plans, and rightly so. The Tribune interviewed Bohn, ran a story about his plight, and then in an editorial last summer said MDOT needed to cave in and purchase Bohns’ entire property.
The Robinson Township property owners wrote the governor and told him that MDOT was being overzealous with the eminent domain process. The governor’s office conducted an investigation.
The response prompted a visit from a Department of Transportation associate from Lansing to assess the situation. Bohn said the man was very cordial and said that he wouldn’t want to live there once the project is completed, either.
Bohn and his wife, Mary, met with lawyers and were able to work out compensation details with the state transportation agency. The Bohns must move by June 15, but in the meantime are allowed to live in their house, which is now owned by MDOT.
We commend the state for making the right decision — but even more so, kudos are due the Bohns for the way they handled the situation. Instead of just being angry and whining, they did something about it. They handled themselves in a professional manner and, as result, they are now much happier campers.
“We were just floored that it happened,” Bohn said. “God is great.”
There are some lessons to be learned here. First of all, if you feel you have been wronged by Big Government, don’t just throw your hands up into the air and give up. Secondly, arm yourself with some facts and stay cool.
You never know — you too might come out the winner just like the Bohns.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.