OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Friday, June 30, 2006 :::

Some Principles for Eminent Domain

From the Cuccinelli Compass, comes what Ken describes as a set of "core principles" that he and others will use to determine what sort of eminent domain bill to support in the next session. The principles are as follows:

“Virginia should respect the fundamental, constitutional right to own property and our legislature must protect our citizens’ right to their homes, farms, businesses and other property. We recognize schools, roads, utilities and other historically public uses as uses where government may need to exercise the power of eminent domain.

The power of eminent domain should be limited to:

1. Prohibit Kelo-type abuses such as the taking of one person’s private property to be transferred to a developer, government entity or third party for purposes of employment, economic development or an increase in tax revenues.

1a) Incidental effects of a taking, including but not limited to effects on employment, economic development or tax revenues, should not be taken into consideration when determining whether a taking is necessary for a public use. Alleged public uses that are a pretext for employment, economic development or tax revenues should not be allowed.

1b) However, the fact that a taking necessary for a genuine public use may effect employment, economic development, or tax revenues shall not be a basis to invalidate the taking at issue.

2. Prohibit citizens’ homes, farms, and businesses from being taken for blight when their property is not blighted and is not a threat to public health and safety.

3. Re-establish property rights to its equal position with other fundamental constitutional rights, as they were when the founding fathers established our constitutional system in Virginia. This would return property rights to the same level of protection as other fundamental constitutional rights, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to vote.

4. Protect property owners by recognizing that just compensation must be full compensation, and that if property owners are not protected from abusive takings and low offers and are required to pay appraisers, real estate brokers, attorney’s fees or court costs when their property is taken by eminent domain, then those costs must be reimbursed if the property owner shows that the offer was below the full value of the property taken. Furthermore, business losses resulting from takings by eminent domain must be included in just compensation.”

This would seem to rule out the sort of legislation the Sen. Stolle backed in the recent session.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 6/30/2006 1 comments


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