HAMPTON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Officials took a woman’s property by eminent domain, but they didn’t realize who they were up against.
Gladys Auld, 93, has waged a one-woman war against Hampton Township and she just won a significant battle.
This week, a panel of judges ruled that Hampton Township low-balled her when they took her land.
The piece of property on Route 8 has been in the Auld family for more than 100 years. It’s where family patriarch, John Auld, built a lumber business and hardware store.
So, when Hampton Township moved to take the land for a flood abatement project, Gladys Auld put up a fight.
“They were just waiting for me to roll over and die because of my age, but I’m not a [going to] until the good Lord wants me,” she said.
Over Auld’s objections, Hampton Township did take the property with its powers of eminent domain.
She won’t be getting the property back, but she will be getting quite a bit more money than the township originally offered.
The township began eyeing the Auld property in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan caused Pine Creek to flood towns like Millvale and when the adjoining Gorehead Run overflowed its banks.
When Auld refused to give up the land, the township took it by eminent domain and offered $280,000 compensation.
Now, a three-judge panel, called the Board of Viewers, has set the price at $640,000.
Still, Auld is not placated.
“No, I appreciate what the Board of Viewers did, but no I don’t think it’s made up for what I’ve been through,” Auld said.
Hampton officials declined comment on the decision, but in the past have stood firm that the property needed to be acquired for the good of the public.
But Auld and her attorneys have not stopped fighting in the courts. They maintain that the land was taken improperly.
“If they think she’s ready to quit they don’t know Gladys very well,” Attorney Noah Fardo said.
Now, Hampton Township can pay the settlement or it can appeal.
Fardo said it’s time for both sides to sit down and settle. If not, Auld said she’ll keep on fighting.