btoy

New 160 Acre West End Park

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I agree with vicupstate; however put yourself in their shoes and how would you like it if the government wanted to tear down and take your house to build a highway through it. I don't know about you, but I would want all of the money I could get personally.

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I agree with vicupstate; however put yourself in their shoes and how would you like it if the government wanted to tear down and take your house to build a highway through it. I don't know about you, but I would want all of the money I could get personally.

I would expect the fair market value and something for the time/trouble. No different than if my job transferred me elsewhere and I had to sell.

I would take pleasure in knowing my sacrifice created a beautiful park that people will enjoy every day for decades, even after I'm gone.

I actually had a house that I WANTED the gov't to condemn. Nobody wanted to buy it :P

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I would expect the fair market value and something for the time/trouble. No different than if my job transferred me elsewhere and I had to sell.

I would take pleasure in knowing my sacrifice created a beautiful park that people will enjoy every day for decades, even after I'm gone.

Ditto that and add: "I'd simply ask the small favor of a plaque noting the history of the property and my sacrafice as a property owner be added to the plaza/stairway/landing/park."

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I think some people actually enjoy being a hindrance. I don't know if that is the case here, but I would think that most people could be persuaded to sell any piece of property for the right price (fair market value plus some more because they know the city is desperate/has the money). If I had been in their shoes, I would certainly have negotiated to get the most I could, but I also would've done so with the idea that I would sell.

However, if the city lowballed them, got upset the owners wouldn't sell, then played the "eminent domain" card...they deserve to pay every cent of the settlement.

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We almost need a separate thread to debate this eminent domain issue. I hadn't realized that it was such a divisive topic, but it's definitely a lively debate. :lol:

Amen to that. This topic has been the biggest story downtown for for the last four years. It's interesting to see how people look at what happened. It could make for a good book if anyone ever wanted to write it..though who would believe it?

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However, if the city lowballed them, got upset the owners wouldn't sell, then played the "eminent domain" card...they deserve to pay every cent of the settlement.

That's exactly what the city did. They initially got a low appraisal for the the buildings, and that is what they based taking the properties on. Only later did they raise their offer, after it was headed to court.

Edited by Chickenwing

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The best solution would have been to give the owners what the property was worth at the time, plus offer them a place in the new development (which I thought the City did). If that isn't enough, then the owners are clearly standing in the way of progression and need to be removed by force. -_-

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The best solution would have been to give the owners what the property was worth at the time, plus offer them a place in the new development (which I thought the City did). If that isn't enough, then the owners are clearly standing in the way of progression and need to be removed by force. -_-

The RiverPlace developers originally offerered them a place in the back of the project. The owners rejected saying they didn't want to leave their property at all, and if even if they did why would they want to move off Main Street and now pay rent to developers?

Also want to clarify one thing out there that has been misreported here and in the Greenville News recently. What the jury decided was NOT new. This won't lead to any change in how political entities go about eminent domain. Go pull eminent domain cases in Greenville County and you will see that practically every person has fought the governments' offer and got more money from a jury. The Main Street Three are not some new standard bearer for eminent domain. They did what everyone else has done for years.

And remember what Strom Thurmond said, and I paraphrase, " how come everytime I buy a piece of land the federal government wants to come along and build a highway through it."

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I think my major aversion to the whole thing is that the city did not need the property. They simply wanted it.

Eminent domain should be last resort, used for necessities, like roads, schools, etc. It should not be used for beautification projects like in this case.

To say that the owners were clearly standing in the way of progression and needed to be removed by force, well, that just opens up a whole other can of worms. Scary.

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Actually this property was needed by the City to ensure the long-term success of the largest private development in the history of downtown. I am not saying these owners should have been removed under the circumstances presented, but if property owners are unwilling to move after receiving the money for their land and being offered a brand new place in the development, they are clearly being stubborn and therefore should be forcefully moved for the sake of the whole community. I feel most people would have gladly accepted the money and new location.

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Actually this property was needed by the City to ensure the long-term success of the largest private development in the history of downtown.

I thought the City's spin on it is that they needed it to provide both under-the-bridge access and street-level access to continue the Reedy River Park on to the north? Obviously, it also helps ensure the success of RiverPlace, but I don't think that was the city's primary concern. The two are very tightly interfaced/integrated, but they're two separate entities (RiverPlace and the Reedy River Park).

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You're right, RT. The City couldn't come out and say that the land was necessary for RiverPlace access, but it was obvious that this was their reason for such urgency, and thus the big debate.

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It basically comes down to how big or small each individual feels the government should be. Is the government above the people, or for the people? To me, if a person doesn't have the right to their own private property, what do they have?

Let's say that the government randomly offered to buy cars from 1,000 people in Greenville, in the name of protecting the environment (i.e., to benefit everyone in Greenville by reducing harmful emissions into the air). What if the individual did not want to sell his/her car, either because the offer was too low or they simply liked their car? Does the government have final say, simply because the government wants the individual to sell his/her car? How would you feel if it were your car at stake?

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There has to be a trade-off. If someone doesn't want to sell their land, should a highway divert itself around that parcel. Should the 60,000 people that drive I-85 EVERY day be required to spend more of their time and gas to create a longer highway, so that it can avoid that parcel?

At some point the good of the WHOLE society out weighs the rights of one individual. The key is to find the balance between the two. Property taken for emenient domain must be used for a public purpose. Localities at times have used emenient domain to take property from one private owner to put it in the hands of another private owner. That is where the abuse lies IMO.

If emenient domain is too severely limited or is economically prohibitive, then we will very rarely see any new parks, new highways, new transit lines or stops. Widening I-85 would involve property from hundreds, maybe thousands of property owners. If even one of them says "NO", then the project might be stalled.

We have to live in the real world, not a hypotetical one.

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Good post, vicupstate. :thumbsup:

Also consider the possibilty of anti-progressionists banding together to buy up important land simply to keep it out of developers hands. That would really stifle the growth of a community.

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There has to be a trade-off. If someone doesn't want to sell their land, should a highway divert itself around that parcel. Should the 60,000 people that drive I-85 EVERY day be required to spend more of their time and gas to create a longer highway, so that it can avoid that parcel?

At some point the good of the WHOLE society out weighs the rights of one individual. The key is to find the balance between the two. Property taken for emenient domain must be used for a public purpose. Localities at times have used emenient domain to take property from one private owner to put it in the hands of another private owner. That is where the abuse lies IMO.

If emenient domain is too severely limited or is economically prohibitive, then we will very rarely see any new parks, new highways, new transit lines or stops. Widening I-85 would involve property from hundreds, maybe thousands of property owners. If even one of them says "NO", then the project might be stalled.

We have to live in the real world, not a hypotetical one.

I see your point, and in terms of infrastructure like roads, I totally agree. However, there is a huge difference between building/widening a much-needed road and building a park. While the park is nice, it is a luxury. From all accounts, the city lowballed these owners and when they didn't sell, they bullied them in the name of eminent domain.

As I said before, the ideal situation is a government that respects an individual's private property rights and individuals who are flexible and willing to work with the government for the good of society as a whole.

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At some point the good of the WHOLE society out weighs the rights of one individual. The key is to find the balance between the two. Property taken for emenient domain must be used for a public purpose. Localities at times have used emenient domain to take property from one private owner to put it in the hands of another private owner. That is where the abuse lies IMO.

The private involvement issue is a gray one. In this day and age, it is very difficult to get any kind of public project completed without private dollars or private involvement.

This is where the public planning process comes in. When a citizen-led planning process develops a plan that involves redeveloping property, the courts have routinely backed the use of eminent domain. Governments get in trouble when the don't plan and try to use eminent domain as an ad hoc tool.

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I see your point, and in terms of infrastructure like roads, I totally agree. However, there is a huge difference between building/widening a much-needed road and building a park. While the park is nice, it is a luxury. From all accounts, the city lowballed these owners and when they didn't sell, they bullied them in the name of eminent domain.

As I said before, the ideal situation is a government that respects an individual's private property rights and individuals who are flexible and willing to work with the government for the good of society as a whole.

The City based their offers on the appraisals they had. The city can not just go throwing money at people, if they started offering large sums to land owners people would question their use of tax payer money. In that case waiting for the court to decide becomes a better option. I do not know the statues, but it may even be that Law prohibits offering above appraisal or at least more than a certain amount above.

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It is my understanding that the general public backs the City's plans to develop a new river walk park system in downtown. I don't necessarily agree with the excuse the City made about the buildings, but do agree that this is an essential piece of property for the long-term success of the developments along the Reedy River.

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Being essential to the plans for the long-term success, makes the property inherently more valuable, than a like kind appraisal would suggest. There were so many intangibles involved in the value of this property, that a normal appraisal, which is just an educated guess, could not be used in this paticular case.

It is kind of like when a rare automobile or painting is sold at auction. Generally, there are presale estimates (appraisals), that are often little more than a starting point for the actual price.

Maybe they should have had a court case prior to taking the property to determine the value? I don't know if it could work this way or not.

Edited by Chickenwing

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In an eminant domain case, there will always be a bad guy. Otherwise, there would not be an eminant domain case. If a property owner agreed to sell for the so-called "greater good", then the transaction occurs without alot of publicity. If the property owner wants to hold out for more, or is just plain trying to prove a point, then things get ugly.

Since there are always two sides to the story, there won't be a unanimous agreement with the situation. In my case, I can feel bad for those who had their property taken, but I don't agree with the amount they were awarded.

Being selfish, I'm glad those buildings are gone, because I personally am much happier to be able to access that area. Plus, I think it just plain looks better.

If it were me, I can't say what I would do. Every situation is different. Knowing myself, I'm not averse to change, so I'd probably just take the situation and make a bit of an opportunity out of it. After I was paid market value, moving expenses and a paltry sum for my troubles of course. :shades: Those who are adventurers at heart will always land on their feet.

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In an eminant domain case, there will always be a bad guy. Otherwise, there would not be an eminant domain case. If a property owner agreed to sell for the so-called "greater good", then the transaction occurs without alot of publicity. If the property owner wants to hold out for more, or is just plain trying to prove a point, then things get ugly.

Since there are always two sides to the story, there won't be a unanimous agreement with the situation. In my case, I can feel bad for those who had their property taken, but I don't agree with the amount they were awarded.

Being selfish, I'm glad those buildings are gone, because I personally am much happier to be able to access that area. Plus, I think it just plain looks better.

If it were me, I can't say what I would do. Every situation is different. Knowing myself, I'm not averse to change, so I'd probably just take the situation and make a bit of an opportunity out of it. After I was paid market value, moving expenses and a paltry sum for my troubles of course. :shades: Those who are adventurers at heart will always land on their feet.

Excellent post!! <applause>

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I think it is very sad in Greenville's case. Our leaders want what is best for the City as a whole, and I trust them to make the proper decisions and consider property owners' legal and ethical rights before taking action. Government must have some power, or anyone could buy up property simply to defy a city, or politician they dislike. :(

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