SCHOOLCRAFT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A family will get to keep their cottage for a while longer after another attempt by Kalamazoo County to take it was denied.
For over five years, the cottage located in Prairie View Park near Vicksburg has been the center of a legal battle between the families who own it and the county. On Thursday, a judge denied Kalamazoo County’s attempt to immediately take the property through eminent domain.
The Johnson and Talanda families say they’ve owned the third of an acre plot of land the cottage currently sits on since the 1940s. At that time, there were a handful of adjacent privately owned plots in the area.
The homeowners say when the county built a park around the subdivision in the 1960s, it attempted to condemn and absorb the cottage property. While other owners sold, the families say they made a legal agreement with the county and kept their cottage.
The county says that agreement allowed the property to be taken by the county after the original owners died, which happened several years ago. The family disagrees, saying the agreement allowed the family to pass the cottage down to future generations.
On Tuesday, the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted to continue its efforts to condemn the cottage.
The family’s law firm said the county is wasting taxpayer dollars on the lawsuits and cannot prove why it needs the property.
It said the county has threatened to take the gate keys from the family, changed the gate lock and filed two condemnation suits in their quest to take the property away.