Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Chickenwing

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

Recommended Posts

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050623/ap_on_...HNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of allowing the city to seize these properties using their power of eminent domain.

Once again, the government is allowed to trample on personal rights. In this case, the homeowners are losing their property to a private corporation and its profit motives, not for public use, as was intended by eminent domain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Yeah my jaw dropped when I saw that this had passed... Lets just hope it doesn't get abused and that there are enough checks and balances, which I'm not very sure there are.. :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just found the following quote by Justice Clarence Thomas, in dissent.

"The consequences of today's decision are not difficult to predict, and promise to be harmful. So-called "urban renewal" programs provide some compensation for the properties they take, but no compensation is possible for the subjective value of these lands to the individuals displaced and the indignity inflicted by uprooting them from their homes. Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep and now eminent domain includes economic redevelopment which could mean tearing down run down(or not run down) homes to put up new offices, hotels, etc etc. using eminent domain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could someone please explain the definition of eminent domain?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The right of a government to appropriate private property for public use, usually with compensation to the owner.

Its part of the 5th amendment.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This definintion is correct.

Eminent domain requires "just compensaion" which means fair market value for the property. If you are not compensated then it is illegal.

I think it is a useful tool for planners if in the right hands. People say its scary, but it has been around for decades. We have it here in SC too. Columbia is particularly notorious for using it. However, in most cases it is just the threat of using it that causes people to sell.

It is not a bad thing. Eminent domain (or the threat of it) is what creates things like Cleveland Park West, Finlay Park, the new Cooper River bridge, libraries, etc. It is actually used when people refuse to sell.

But the issue was is it legal for a public entity to take private land and then sell it to private developers? The Supreme Court says yes... so thereya go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.... or a new McDonalds because they city gets more tax revenue out of it than it does a private residence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is not a bad thing. Eminent domain (or the threat of it) is what creates things like Cleveland Park West, Finlay Park, the new Cooper River bridge, libraries, etc. It is actually used when people refuse to sell.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree eminent domain is a necessary tool for cities to create public infrastructure projects like the public facilities Spartan mentioned above. But the key word is PUBLIC. I do think a line is crossed when it is for a private development vs. a publicly owned facility for use by the community at large like a road, a bridge, a school, a park, a library, etc. I am rather uncomfortable with cities taking land by eminent domain for private developers. One could very well argue like Justice Thomas (I can not believe I am in agreement with him on anything) that it is government displacing lower income people so upper income people can move into an area for living, working, and playing. If private market forces drive lower income people out for more economically lucrative private development, that is one thing. But if the government does it, that is another. Taking land from one private party by force to give to another private party for a non-public use is inappropriate in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with most people here.....the scope of taking land should be confined for direct public good (parks, transit, roads, schools, etc.) , and not for private development.

I'm not sure what town in Conn. this was decided for, but it seems unlikely that many towns there would need additional property tax revenues.

Luckily here in NC, we have a state constitution that is much more restrictive, and prohibits taking of land for private development specifically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what town in Conn. this was decided for, but it seems unlikely that many towns there would need additional property tax revenues.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It was New London, you can see a satellite image of the properties in question here.

The sandy areas have already been cleared for development, in the center you can see a collection of houses. Those are the hold outs that promted this suit.

On the property tax issue, though Connecticut usually ranks as the richest state in the country, it's cities are amongst the nation's poorest. New London is one of the better cities, in my opinion, but it is still struggling. In New England, towns and cities are largely on their own, there is no county system where services such as Police, Fire, and Schools are provided and funded at the county level. Connecticut's cities tend to have a large number of poorer people who put a strain on the social safety nets, costing the cities money, then they don't have the property taxes to level that out.

The city is attempting to cash in on the recent resurgence in people wanting to live in urban areas. New England cities such as Providence, New Haven, and Manchester are starting to be hot as urban destinations and cheaper alternatives to New York and Boston. Providence especially has been successful in attracting developments for wealthy residents looking to live here. New London is attempting to get on that bus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This eminent domain decision has a direct impact on a proposed development happening in Hollywood, Fla. The owner of a small one-story downtown storefront refuses to sell the property to a developer who wants to restore and expand an adjacent hotel and add condos and retail. At the request of the developer, the city had already been considering seizing the property by using its eminent domain powers.

Now it looks like they have a green light to proceed if the city decides this is a "public good".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally think that this is a good thing. Most of us have sensible people running our cities, there's not going to be this massive takeover that you speak of.

Greenville took property through eminent domain last year or around then to make way for a public walkway along the Reedy River in downtown. This also coincided with the $65 million Riverplace developement that is transforming the whole West End Historic District of Downtown. Private developments are what drive our economies. --The property was made up of three ugly buildings that essentially did nothing to contribute to downtown. It honestly was in the best interest of the city and all of the residents.-- On another note: Greenville is in the process for redeveloping some run-down neighborhoods and putting pride back into the inhabitants and creating a safe environment for kids and everyone who wants affordable housing in a good community. They are planning community centers, parks and recreation areas, new homes, new streets and extending existing streets, and multifamily housing as well as senior housing complexes. But how can this land be developed and this vision be achieved??? The land must be obtained to extend the roads, houses must be torn down to make way for new homes and community centers. Eminent domain can only help in this process and create a better future for thousands of people...

But what do I know? I've only seen it happen and positively change an entire area!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally think that this is a good thing. Most of us have sensible people running our cities, there's not going to be this massive takeover that you speak of.

Greenville took property through eminent domain last year or around then to make way for a public walkway along the Reedy River in downtown. This also coincided with the $55 million Riverplace developement that is transforming the whole West End Historic District of Downtown. Private developments are what drive our economies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether it is a positive thing or not is highly subjective, and I will have to disagree with you. There was actually nothing wrong with these buildings, until Hughes tore down the one in the middle that weakened the other two structurally.

These two businesses had been in downtown Greenville for many years, and continued to stay downtown when no one wanted to be there. And how were they repayed for their diligence and longevity? They were forced out because the city claimed they wanted to build some steps to the river, which aren't being built by the way. Basically they wanted to clear out the buildings for Hughes's development, because he has the money.

Taking private property for the benefit of another private company's profits is NOT beneficial and is not a great leap from communism. That is right - communism. You know the system where the government decides who owns the property and what can be done with it and who can live there.

The United States was founded on personal liberties, and they are slowly being eroded way, for larger tax bases.

You might feel differently if you or your family had owned a business or home for over fifty years and the government decided that the property would be better off in someone elses hands.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If the city said the steps would be built, then the damn stairs will be built. So they aren't there yet, but it's not complete, and the promenade hasn't even began, but it will.

"Taking private property for the benefit of another private company's profits is NOT beneficial and is not a great leap from communism." --- No part of the riverplace developement is being built where these building once stood. If they did, then i think it might have been difficult for them to start construction on the first building on the corner of Main and Camperdown... It is public space and is not private development that the city is planning on their former property.

Also, even if their businesses were there during the tough times, so what? It wasn't the few buildings and businesses of South Main that revitalized Downtown Greenville. I have honestly NEVER heard of anyone going downtown just to go to Mitchell stereo or the other two- so what'd they do? For one thing, they could've kept up their buildings and if they were appealing to view from the street level and from the river banks, then maybe they could've been spared and worked into the project's master plan. If they were doing such good business at S. Main, then why didn't they stay down there but in another location, instead of moving or closing down? It just doesn't add up.

Personally, If my property was in an urban area such as downtown and it was not my residence, then I would be happy to take the money and run. If I cared at all about the city in which I live, then I wouldn't hesitate. All of Greenville is benefitting from this development and it is increasing the quality of life. Therefore my opinion would not be changed if it were made more personal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The people who agree with this decision are not only wrong, they are the ones who enable unelected, unccountable 'officials' to completely change our way of life in this country.

Most people revere supreme court justices as being the most intelligent people around just by fact that they are on the highest court... well you can see something must be wrong with their intelligence when it is a spilt 5-4 decision on something as basic as this.

Not only did the dissenters disagree, they VEHEMENTLY disagreed, and all noted the issue could change the quality of life in America for the worse.

The court decision was wrong. It is clearly not for public USE .. it is being done for public GAIN (which is dubious at best). That the holier than thou justices could ignore this FUNDAMENTAL difference is mind blowing. Also that they do not care that they are changing the law not interpreting it - I don't care what any legal weenies want to say, if the law has been followed for 200 years in the current manner and 5 'justices' come along one day and change it, THEY ARE CHANGING THE LAW. PERIOD.

They deserve to be impeached.

The government now has the legal right to take whatever property you own at any time for any reason.

Now, for the people who say this is eminent domain - YOU ARE WRONG. If the gov't really wants the land to make a buck, they should be forced to bid for it like any other landowner would - at a price the buyer is WILLING to sell.

yes that means they might have to pay people much more than a property's listed value. So what? let them make that decision. If it's for financial gain anyway I'm sure they can afford to buy people out if a good enough proposal comes along!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some states already have laws protecting property owners, the Constitution does not mention local governments and it is the state governments that grant city charters, the state will have to act upon this ruling rather than the local governments. By the way, North Carolina's property rights law exclude private development in its eminent domain powers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree eminent domain is a necessary tool for cities to create public infrastructure projects like the public facilities Spartan mentioned above. But the key word is PUBLIC. I do think a line is crossed when it is for a private development vs. a publicly owned facility for use by the community at large like a road, a bridge, a school, a park, a library, etc. I am rather uncomfortable with cities taking land by eminent domain for private developers. One could very well argue like Justice Thomas (I can not believe I am in agreement with him on anything) that it is government displacing lower income people so upper income people can move into an area for living, working, and playing. If private market forces drive lower income people out for more economically lucrative private development, that is one thing. But if the government does it, that is another. Taking land from one private party by force to give to another private party for a non-public use is inappropriate in my opinion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very well said. I agree completely. If this keeps up, we're going to have government of the rich people, for the rich people, and by the rich people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some states already have laws protecting property owners, the Constitution does not mention local governments and it is the state governments that grant city charters, the state will have to act upon this ruling rather than the local governments. By the way, North Carolina's property rights law exclude private development in its eminent domain powers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Right, it's now incumbent upon state legislatures to restrict how eminent domain powers can be applied and for what purposes. There is a potential for abuse...

Several Community Redevelopment Agencies in my area that have already taken private property for private development. Although I personally feel that their actions did improve the area as a result and what is there now is much better than what was there before, their tactics were questionable though legal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, it's now incumbent upon state legislatures to restrict how eminent domain powers can be applied and for what purposes. There is a potential for abuse...

Even if the states restrict it, what's to stop the case from going to the Fed Supreme court based on Federal public gain?? The court has already just ruled that it's the law they can take it for increased revenue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.