JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow has appointed a prominent Joliet attorney to serve as an ombudsman for landowners whose properties lie in the path of the proposed Illiana Expressway.
Michael Hansen, whose appointment as ombudsman was formalized recently, will serve as an independent intermediary whose role will be to facilitate communication between local property owners and the Illinois Department of Transportation as the state begins to acquire land for the Illiana project.
Hansen has a comprehensive background in state and local laws as they relate to real estate development.
As an attorney, he has successfully helped clients ranging from national corporations to local landowners shepherd their development proposals through state, county and municipal planning processes.
The Will County Board recently approved an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to hire an ombudsman to provide information to landowners independent of influence by the state or local government agencies. As part of that agreement, Glasgow was authorized to conduct a search and appoint the ombudsman.
“Mike is a highly respected and knowledgeable attorney who has the strongest legal background to assist property owners who have questions,” Glasgow said.
“His sole priority is to present independent, accurate information to landowners who wish to protect their interests as the state project moves forward.”
Property owners can be assured that their consultations with the ombudsman are confidential and that their discussions, as well as their identities, will not be disclosed to state or county officials. The ombudsman’s duties include:
• Explaining to property owners their rights pertaining to on-site inspections by state surveyors or appraisers.
• Educating property owners on state guidelines for property acquisition and relocation assistance.
• Informing property owners of eminent domain procedures.
• Informing landowners of the negotiating process for the sale of property.
• Informing owners of the tiered environmental impact studies required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
• Acting as an intermediary between property owners and IDOT.
• Accompanying IDOT officials or their consultants on inspections if requested by property owners.
• Recommending certified real estate appraisers to assist property owners in their negotiations with IDOT.
Hansen graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1973 and received his law degree from Drake University Law School in 1975.