purchases neighbors house
In its effort to work with neighbors who are affected by contaminated
groundwater, YSI Incorporated recently purchased the home of neighbors
who wanted to move and feared the loss of property value.
It seemed like the right thing to do, said Lisa Abel, YSI
Incorporated leader of sustainability strategies. Weve been
saying to neighbors that were willing to work with individual property
owners to try to find resolution. This was something we could do to help
The home, formerly owned by Michael and Drusilla Henry, is located adjacent
to the YSI property at 650 Golden Willow, in the Willow Field subdivision
on the south edge of town. The company paid $225,000 for the four-bedroom
house, which the Henrys built five years ago. The sale was closed on Oct.
The Henrys, who moved to Springfield Township in November, feel positive
about their relationship with YSI and the process involved in selling
YSI should be applauded for their efforts, Michael Henry said.
It was a wonderful company to work with. They treated us very well
and we feel satisfied.
In the spring of 2001, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency found
pollution in the wells of several YSI neighbors, including that of the
Henrys, and in unused wells on the company property. That discovery sparked
a year-and-a-half long investigation by YSI and the Ohio EPA, as well
as the filing of a lawsuit by three neighbors. Although the company initially
did not know the source of the contamination, YSI officials discovered
last year that several employees had improperly disposed of hazardous
wastes on the companys property.
Since the pollution was discovered, YSI officials have sought to address
the problem openly, former YSI CEO Malte vonMatthiessen said in a recent
interview. Along with providing information on the investigation to the
public, the company sponsored a collaborative process, facilitated by
The ARIA Group, which sought a solution with community input, he said.
That process continues.
The company also paid the Village $250,000 to connect 18 of its neighbors,
who are outside village limits, with Village water. The neighbors
homes were connected to Village water lines in December, Abel said.
The Henrys were a part of the collaborative process until last June, when
they talked to Jay Rothman of The ARIA Group about their desire to sell
their house, and their fears that they would be unable to do so due to
the groundwater contamination, Abel said. The couple had discussed selling
their house before the contamination became known, said Henry, but the
pollution contributed to their desire to move.
It was an interesting process, Abel said of the discussions
that followed. After the company offered to buy the house, both YSI and
the Henrys hired an appraiser to determine the homes value, and
a third appraiser was chosen by The ARIA group. The three appraisers met
and agreed on a market value price of $225,000.
The negotiations took place last summer, said Abel.
Henry worked primarily with Abel and met occasionally with vonMatthiessen.
Both were fair and professional, Henry said.
It was a rather painful process but she did a marvelous job,
Henry said of Abel.
Henry said he and his wife initially considered filing a lawsuit against
the company due to the contamination but decided against that action.
We didnt feel it was in the best interest of the community
to sue YSI, said Henry, who said he and his wife were concerned about
the financial ramifications on YSI of a lawsuit. We wanted to do
the right thing.
YSI plans to hold on to the house now, and will probably put it up for
sale in the spring, said Abel.