PennDOT rejects request for eminent domain list on I-83 widening project

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Properties along South Manheim Street near I-83, Thursday, May 9, 2019, including York Art Association, may be subject to eminent domain confiscation with a interstate widening project planned. Bill Kalina photo

The state Department of Transportation has denied a request by The York Dispatch seeking a list of properties that will be subject to eminent domain in connection with the Interstate 83 widening project.

The Right-to-Know Law request sought a list, including full addresses, of properties that would be taken under eminent domain. About 200 properties will be subject to either partial acquisition or complete acquisition for the $330 million project, PennDOT has said.

Properties expected to be affected by eminent domain due to the I-83 widening project.

The York Dispatch in May was told it would have to file a request to obtain a list of properties. PennDOT then took an allowed 30-day extension before denying the request last week.

"Strictly speaking, PennDOT has not reached a final decision to proceed with the acquisition of real property or an interest in real property for the project identified in your request; accordingly, it does not possess a responsive record," the response read.

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More:Eminent domain notices for I-83 widening project to go out Tuesday

In addition, PennDOT declined to supply any draft documents detailing what properties would be impacted, claiming any documentation is exempt under the state's Right-to-Know Law.

The agency was  scheduled  last month  to notify all residents whose properties would be impacted by eminent domain, officials said.

PennDOT on Monday did not immediately confirm that the notices officially have been sent. 

The Federal Highway Administration in April 2020 signed off on the widening project that covers roughly 5 miles of the I-83 corridor from Exit 19 (Market Street) to Exit 22 (North George Street). 

In total, 91 properties would be subject to complete acquisition. Of those, 60 are residential properties, 27 are commercial properties and four are municipal or tax-exempt properties.

The properties are located in North York and in Springettsbury, Spring Garden and Manchester townships.

Anthony Corby, an eminent domain attorney at the Hershey-based Faherty Law Firm, has said he expects an influx in cases as notifications are received and offers are made.

Eminent domain cases typically have to do with the fact that relocating to a comparable location can be a burden, and PennDOT often makes offers that are below market value, Corby said. 

PennDOT officials have said it will likely be much further down the road before offers are made because of preliminary work that needs to be completed before the project advances.

According to a "Displacements" map on the I-83 widening project website, an entire neighborhood in North York, just south of the southbound entrance ramp on the west side of the highway, and several businesses on the east side would be effected, Wednesday, October 2, 2019
John A. Pavoncello photo

The entire project is set to be completed in 2026.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.