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vdogg

Eminent Domain

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I was going to continue this in the off-topic thread but this is such a major issue I think it needs it's own space. First and foremost I am both shocked and appalled by the decision of the Supreme court yesterday to basically grant powers of the state to a private entity. No, they never said in so many words that a developer can declare eminent domain but this is in effect what they have done. I'm about as gung-ho for development in this area as anyone else but I also realize there must be limits. I am currently trying to get myself in the position to buy a house in the next few years. I would hate to think that all my hard work and effort would be in vain because one day Walmart might want my land. I take particular issue with how vague the language of this law is. How do you determine whats good for the city when it comes to private developers? A few well placed campaign contributions and whats good for the city can be anything a developer wants. Imagine being run off your land because the city decided that a dollar tree would be a better fit for that location. I have at times been frustrated with our local NIMBY's standing in the way of progress, but not to the point where I want to start giving up rights to streamline the process. :angry:

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Yes, I have already voiced my opinion on this. To think that a developer deciding he wants my home and the city AGREES is actually quite a scary thing. I am not familiar with this bill and who passed it but it sounds like a developer's dream. Us 'common people' trying to raise a family and be good neighbors and even those who do keep up their homes could ultimately end up losing it. I am pretty sure though we have not seen the end of this.

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Yes, I have already voiced my opinion on this. To think that a developer deciding he wants my home and the city AGREES is actually quite a scary thing. I am not familiar with this bill and who passed it but it sounds like a developer's dream. Us 'common people' trying to raise a family and be good neighbors and even those who do keep up their homes could ultimately end up losing it. I am pretty sure though we have not seen the end of this.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thats the thing. It was not a bill. It was a supreme court ruling and therefore is now law.

There is a move afoot to come up with legislation to protect homeowners but that is only in it's initial stages.

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Thats the thing. It was not a bill. It was a supreme court ruling and therefore is now law.

There is a move afoot to come up with legislation to protect homeowners but that is only in it's initial stages.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Really its up to the local municapalties to make that decision. If enough people fight the locals then it will not happen. If not enought people fight it then it will happen.

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Really its up to the local municapalties to make that decision. If enough people fight the locals then it will not happen. If not enought people fight it then it will happen.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I can't necessarily agree with that statement. How many people were against the 31st street hotel? That was more opposed than any project we've seen recently but it still happend. This council will listen to the developer long before they listen to the people.

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I can't necessarily agree with that statement. How many people were against the 31st street hotel? That was more opposed than any project we've seen recently but it still happend. This council will listen to the developer long before they listen to the people.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But there were no houses taken for that project. It really didn't deal with taking peoples homes away from them. Different situation.

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But where there houses taken for that project. It really didn't deal with taking peoples homes away from them. Different situation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

True it's a different situation but it does demonstrate the lack of input people really have when it comes to development related decisions. The potential for abuse of this policy is staggering.

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Really its up to the local municapalties to make that decision. If enough people fight the locals then it will not happen. If not enought people fight it then it will happen.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Right. This ruling does not expand the powers of eminent domain per se. Condemnation is still a prerogative of the governments and must meet the criteria of the Takings Clause (public purpose, just compensation, etc.). The ruling quite radically expands the definition of public purpose.

It's a dangerous notion for two reasons, IMO. For prospective property owners (simple citizens, not developers), what is the incentive to buy a "fix-up" home in a seedy neighborhood and restore it? As soon as the neighborhood becomes hot you risk developer interest and condemnation. You would not get the type of return on your investment you intended. The court addresses issues of IBEs (investment-backed expectations) so perhaps that's ammo for plaintiffs to seek higher compensation, but still... the expansion of takings powers would do damage to home restoration and neighborhood revitalization efforts done on behalf of neighborhood residents.

Secondly, suppose you are one of the New London plaintiffs. You have lived in your house for 40 years and own it free and clear, having paid the mortgage off 10 years ago. Your expectation is to live in your paid-for house and simply pay property tax. You're elderly and on a fixed income and that's all you can afford to do anyway. Now you're given "just compensation" for your house and have to move elsewhere. Where in CT will you find an affordable house to move to? You'll have to rent, and on your fixed income that's difficult to do. So should this practice become commonplace you'll see people being forced out of property ownership. That's a scary notion.

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Secondly, suppose you are one of the New London plaintiffs.  You have lived in your house for 40 years and own it free and clear, having paid the mortgage off 10 years ago.  Your expectation is to live in your paid-for house and simply pay property tax.  You're elderly and on a fixed income and that's all you can afford to do anyway.  Now you're given "just compensation" for your house and have to move elsewhere.  Where in CT will you find an affordable house to move to?  You'll have to rent, and on your fixed income that's difficult to do.  So should this practice become commonplace you'll see people being forced out of property ownership.  That's a scary notion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I guess this second option is the one I was really trying to get at in my original post. When you own your property that you put your entire lifes work and effort into it should be yours period. "Just compensation" is almost always unjustly given to those who can least afford to move at a time when they can least afford to do it. I can barely afford to live in this city as is. Factor in another 20 years or so of property value increases and if your elderly and need to find an affordable home after being forceably removed from yours, you might as well move to another city.

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That's the problem: "just compensation". Or rather, fair market value. VB took the Neptune restaurant and property as part of the 31st St project. It tried to bill it as eminent domain since a public parking garage was to be built on the property. Problem was some of those spaces were to be leased to the hotel and there was to be ground-level retail. Therefore, the city had to negotiate a price rather than seize the land and give the former owners a fair market price. Just like it did with the Sadlers when it purchased the arcade that is now the site of the hotel.

As for the project itself, the city failed to protect itself from cost overruns so it is now burdened with a garage that cost triple the original estimate. However, a large park would have been an even bigger waste of valuable oceanfront property. The South End has enough parks.

I think some may be misinterpreting the decision. It's not taking of property because a developer says I want that land, please take it for me. It's taking of land for economic development. Government has the option of taking blighted property and marketing it for other uses. Look at Burton Station. VB has been trying to buy the land to expand the Airport Industrial Park. As it stands, the area is blighted and it is not cost-effective to run services to the remaining homes. But these remaining homes stand in the way of rezoning the land for industrial uses. Now the city can finish the process without lengthy court battles or negotiations. The city is not bowing to a developer's interest in this case but to a long-range vision of expanding industrial output and the tax base with minimal capital costs.

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Look at Burton Station.  VB has been trying to buy the land to expand the Airport Industrial Park.  As it stands, the area is blighted and it is not cost-effective to run services to the remaining homes.  But these remaining homes stand in the way of rezoning the land for industrial uses.  Now the city can finish the process without lengthy court battles or negotiations.  The city is not bowing to a developer's interest in this case but to a long-range vision of expanding industrial output and the tax base with minimal capital costs.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was thinking the same thing. Also brings to mind that idiot who has held up the Lowe's development for years now because he has the "right" to drive directly across the land instead of around it. What a total joke. Property rights themselves are out of control. Just because you buy a house on a piece of land does not mean thatit wil always be there, that is something you plan ahead for when you buy a house in the first place. If the government wants your land, then it will usually get it one way or another. This streamlines the whole process and saves the taxpayers money in court costs.

Everyone is so upset about this and how the court is out of control. Give me a break. People who are holding out in the houses and demanding that the gov't pay them an arm and a leg for a dumpy house are culprits as well.

What about the renters who are on fixed incomes and lived in the trailers or in East Ocaen View? They are worse off because not only do they own nothing and get nothing when they are evicted but they are also stuck with getting another place. It's funny how everyone here on this site was salivating over the redevelopment plans of the "Texas Street" areas even though that means quite a bit of people tossed out on the street who can afford it a lot less than homeowners can. Same goes for all of East Ocean View and all the trailer parks.

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What about the renters who are on fixed incomes and lived in the trailers or in East Ocaen View?  They are worse off because not only do they own nothing and get nothing when they are evicted but they are also stuck with getting another place.  It's funny how everyone here on this site was salivating over the redevelopment plans of the "Texas Street" areas even though that means quite a bit of people tossed out on the street who can afford it a lot less than homeowners can.  Same goes for all of East Ocean View and all the trailer parks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I always have been and always will be for finding affordable housing solutions for those currently in economic hardship. Do not mistake my enthusiasm for the idea or concept of a project as wholesale support for every particular consequence of that project. Remember the wedgewood situation? I believe I posted commentary on this very site addressing the affordable housing issue with that project. I support the project but do not support the developers refusal to adopt some sort of affordable housing measures to help those they evicted from their land. I do not want to diverge too far off topic here in that affordable housing is another issue and therefore thread in and of itself. I will say this, whenever people are forceably removed from their property, whether it be for public or private reasons, what happens to them is always foremost on my mind. The Oceanview project, as with 31st street, would have happened anyway because the city wanted it too. The only way to start addressing the matter of what happens to people after said projects, is getting full scale community support behind adopting a policy to deal with this issue in the near future.

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Let's not forget that this is a ruling!!! This basically only sets a precedent. This does not give private developers the right to take land by eminent domain. It allows the city to take the land by eminent domain if the project is in the best intersest of the area and surroundings (economically and visually). However, this is nothing more than a precedent, when things like this happen in the future, people will still be able to take the city or private developers to court if they feel that there property is being taken unjustly. Then the city or developers will have to prove that the project is in the best interest of the area. So it's not like this ruling gives free reign to developers and local governments.

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Let's not forget that this is a ruling!!!  This basically only sets a precedent.  This does not give private developers the right to take land by eminent domain.  It allows the city to take the land by eminent domain if the project is in the best intersest of the area and surroundings (economically and visually).  However, this is nothing more than a precedent, when things like this happen in the future, people will still be able to take the city or private developers to court if they feel that there property is being taken unjustly.  Then the city or developers will have to prove that the project is in the best interest of the area.  So it's not like this ruling gives free reign to developers and local governments.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

NO KIDDING! The media is causing panic with headlines like "YOUR HOUSE COULD BE NEXT". It's a total chicken little syndrome. The sky is not falling and the bulldozers are probably not going to be ripping down anyone's front door soon.

vdogg I know that you were standing up for the affordable housing thing as well... most people on here were. But that is something that the developer is not responsible for. VA Beach city council rubber stamped his plan faster than you can say 31st Street. If they were really upset about it, they could have grabbed a tiny chunk of land to make a bridge over 264 to connect Euclid and Alicia. Maybe they will now. :o

What this ruling really does is give more power to city councils who, in turn, get their power from us. The 31st Street crew are all in power after elections so obvioulsy people did not care enough to vote or they did not care enough about 31st Street for it to be an issue. What we need to do now is press VA Beach to pass some fair land use ordinaces in new development areas.

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Urbanfan hit it on the head, this is only a slim precedent (5-4 vote). It also had a strict test or burdon of proof which is similar to the prior test concerning public good. The court has only allowed for the public good to concern economic development which most always requires private interest and capitol. The court also said that each state should legislate the matters of condemation to tailor to the local needs and values.

It sounds bad to think that the're coming after our homes, but we have the same legal protections as before. And no judge will allow for a house to be taken for some senseless business proposition or political favor...atleast I hope not!

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Urbanfan hit it on the head, this is only a slim precedent (5-4 vote). It also had a strict test or burdon of proof which is similar to the prior test concerning public good.  The court has only allowed for the public good to concern economic development which most always requires private interest and capitol. The court also said that each state should legislate the matters of condemation to tailor to the local needs and values.

It sounds bad to think that the're coming after our homes, but we have the same legal protections as before. And no judge will allow for a house to be taken for some senseless business proposition or political favor...atleast I hope not!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If the whole thing holds up, do you think the local government will exercise their new rights and take the land from the guy on virginia beach boulevard who is preventing the Lowe's from being built on there?

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If the whole thing holds up, do you think the local government will exercise their new rights and take the land from the guy on virginia beach boulevard who is preventing the Lowe's from being built on there?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That would be the best use of it but it appears that state law may still prevent this even though the supreme court says they can. State law and eminent domain

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