Gov. M. Jodi Rell last week extended the deadline for state assistance for two determined homeowners of disputed properties in New London’s Fort Trumbull neighborhood.

Rell originally had set a June 15 deadline for Suzette Kelo and Michael Cristofaro – who was representing members of his family – the homeowners who have longest resisted the city taking their homes by eminent domain for the construction of a private development that would include office, luxury condominiums and a hotel. But negotiations, which are being handled by the state Department of Economic and Community Development, “had proceeded to a significant enough level” that the governor decided to extend the deadline until June 22, according to DECD Deputy Commissioner Ronald Angelo.

The deadline marks the date the homeowners can either settle with the city or lose the chance to receive state funding, which would go beyond what the city offers.

New London’s City Council voted two weeks ago to begin eviction proceedings against the two remaining residents.

The City Council also recently rejected a proposal from Gov. M. Jodi Rell in which the state would have paid to move the residents’ homes to a different piece of land on the Fort Trumbull peninsula. The homeowners would have been given deeds to the land with the right to pass it on to any heirs, but would have had to give the city the first chance to buy the homes and land should they have chosen to sell.

The council decided to develop the 90 acres of land near the Thames River in the late 1990s after Pfizer Inc. built its research facility nearby. The city transferred the power of eminent domain to the New London Development Corp., a private organization, and in 2000, the development corporation notified residents that their homes were being taken.

Kelo was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city. The suit went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled last year that private homes can be taken by eminent domain to make way for private development.