Thursday, May 22, 2014
Dana Berliner of the Institute for Justice argues in the affirmative:
After a lull in cases of eminent-domain abuse over the past several years, we are increasingly hearing complaints from home and business owners about government attempts to take property for private development projects….
The [Kelo] decision shocked the nation. In the years that followed, 44 states changed their laws to make eminent domain for private development more difficult. State courts also stepped into the gap—nine high courts, including New Jersey’s, placed state constitutional limits on eminent domain. Chastened by this wave of opposition, most cities and agencies became much more careful in their use of eminent domain.
Unfortunately, this breathing spell seems to be ending. This latest condemnation by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority is part of a new wave of eminent-domain abuse, as cities and redevelopment agencies try to regain some of the power they lost:
• California actually abolished its redevelopment agencies in 2011. Now cities and powerful development interests have launched a ballot initiative to restore the redevelopment agencies and greatly expand their power to seize properties for private projects.
• In Colorado, Denver suburbs and other cities have been on a spree of condemnations for shopping malls.
• Minnesota, Alabama and Illinois have added powers to state and municipal agencies to condemn for such projects as sports stadiums, industrial developments and business-district economic development.