Family not interested in selling property to school

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 24, 2002

DEERING--The Molter family is not opposed to the renovation of Dawson-Bryant Elementary School, only to the part where they have to sell land that has been in their family for more than 50 years.

Nancy Molter Collier, a teacher at Rock Hill Elementary No.3, said her mother, Margaret Molter, is being pressured by the Dawson-Bryant School Board, even though the Molters made it clear they have no interest in selling.

&uot;We are easy going people, but this is wrong,&uot; Collier said. &uot;My mom and dad worked hard for this land.&uot;

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The family owns five acres of land adjacent to the school, bordering State Route 243 and county Road 6.

Currently, Judy’s Giovanni’s Pizza and a rental home sit on part of the land and supply Molter with her retirement income.

&uot;We asked them how much land they wanted and they said they wanted all five acres,&uot; Collier said.

Her family was willing to compromise but they were never given the option, she said.

Margaret Molter said she gave her word to her mother and father, who helped her and her husband acquire the land, that they would always keep the land within the family.

The family has invested more than $20,000 in the property over the last three years including a new septic system, new windows, new siding and an enclosed porch on the rental property.

The Collier’s said their tenet had rented from them for 15 years and has now moved due to the uncertain future. The pizza shop, leased by Judith Daugherty and John Burns, has been in business since 1983 and employs at least 10 people.

Burns said the situation has caused him some problems hiring and keeping employees and has forced him to work lots of overtime.

The family had also been considering some plans of their own for the undeveloped part of the land. &uot;We had thought about putting a daycare in when my wife retired,&uot; Jon Collier said. &uot;That would have been a good family business for us.&uot;

The Colliers said that Superintendent James Payne told them that the school board had no interest in meeting with them.

&uot;He at no time invited us to come talk to the board,&uot; she said. &uot;He did invite us to look at the plans in his office.&uot;

Payne insists the Molters were invited to meet with him and to come to a board meeting.

&uot;I asked them to talk with me and they canceled the meeting,&uot; Payne said. &uot;Their unwillingness to meet with me was causing a problem with the board.&uot;

Payne said they only had two options and this was the best choice. He also said

&uot;In any eminent domain work, the owners are compensated more than fairly,&uot; he said. &uot;It should benefit all parties involved.&uot;

Collier said that the board already owns land in the area and thinks they could design the school so that the Molters could keep their land. She said the eminent domain laws the board are using in their defense were not created for this reason.

&uot;We are not looking for a fight,&uot; Collier said. &uot;We are just trying to hold on to what we already have.

&uot;One thing that really upsets me is that Dawson-Bryant was named after Homer Dawson, my mother’s uncle, but that doesn’t seem to matter.&uot; Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune