Carlisle Borough Council approved an ordinance Thursday that will allow it to take portions of two properties by eminent domain should negotiations for rights-of-way with the property owners fail.
The properties are at 320 N. Hanover St., which is the location of Belco Credit Union, and 328-330 N. Hanover St., the location of a restaurant and gas station. Neither business would be closed by the rights-of-way, although it may change access to the businesses or the availability of parking.
A combined .15 acres from the frontage of the two properties is needed for intersection improvements that include the realignment of Carlisle Springs Road (Route 34) and North Hanover Street (Route 11) to create a safer railroad crossing and the installation of a roundabout at the five-point intersection of North Hanover and Penn streets with Fairground Avenue.
In a statement prior to the vote, Mayor Tim Scott said the decision to pursue eminent domain does not mean that the borough will stop negotiations with the property owners. Rather, it is giving the borough a "plan B" if the negotiations come to an impasse.
He also said the property owners would be "compensated fair market value for the portion of property being taken using independent appraisals and legal oversight" should the negotiations fail.
"We look at eminent domain as a last resort. We are hoping that it does not come to that, but, like the mayor said, this gives us a plan B," council member Robin Guido said. "As distasteful as it may be, it gives us a second option should option A fall apart or not come to fruition."
The borough has already reached agreements with 11 of 14 property owners affected by the project, and an agreement with another, Norfolk Southern, is in its final stages.