A dispute over an unused alleyway may force a longtime Bartholomew County business owner to give up the land he's worked on for decades.
Terry Brown has lived near and worked at a Taylorsville auto repair since he was 13 years old.
In 2004, he bought the business from a family friend and took over the mortgage for the property, running the shop for three years without issue, RTV6's Chance Walser reported.
But when Brown wanted to expand his business in 2007, county officials noted that the extension would take over some abandoned property.
Officials suggested that Brown and neighboring business owners go to court to obtain the unused alleyway, and they were granted the property in 2009.
But shortly after, Louisville and Indiana Railroad took exception, claiming that the alley was the company's property.
It also filed suit against Brown, claiming the auto shop building encroached on its land.
The court sided with the company, leaving Brown with a difficult decision -- pay $4,500 a year to lease the property or tear down his building and get out.
"With me paying a mortgage, I feel like, OK, I'm paying a mortgage, taxes and a lease on the same square foot of ground," he said.
Brown said he reached out to the railroad company, his title company, his bank and the county to find out how he was able to buy the property if it was already owned by the railroad.
He said he's afraid he will lose the business he has been a part of for most of his life.
"Every morning on your way to work you are half sick to your stomach because I think I'm going to turn the corner and the sheriff is going to be waiting for me to take me to jail for trespassing on my own property," Brown said.
Louisville and Indiana Railroad declined to comment on the matter.
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