Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

NPR : Daytona Business Owners Fight Eminent Domain

On "Morning Edition" today, this story, about Daytona Beach trying to use eminent domain to take away three businesses in order to invigorate the boardwalk/beachfront.

What's notable is that the city is trying to use eminent domain in such a way to directly benefit a private entity. The city itself will not use the property for any municiple purpose, but rather give the land to a developer to create a hotel/mall destination for tourists. This is an abuse of eminent domain, it would seem to me. Eminent domain--the process of the state taking away a private person's property for the needs of the state in exchange for fair compensation--should only be used for public purposes. In this case, if the private developer has a profitable enterprise, he should keep upping the purchase price until the business owners sell. If not, then he must work around it. The fact that the city might benefit from a new project cannot justify the taking of one person's property and giving it to another.


At 8:48 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Glad you are keeping an eye on our end of the country. There is a fair bit of background on this one that NPR probably did not have a chance to cover. The current owners are not willing to sell at any price and it would be next to impossible to revamp the boardwalk around them. The boardwalk is ground zero of the tourist area that the town is trying to change to a year round family destination rather than the current special event magnet (bike week, spring break, NASCAR, BCR). I can see both sides of this one. Our community would probably be better of with the renovation of that area, which the current owners have no interest in. At any rate, the Kelo verdict did not help those people's case.


At 4:20 AM, Blogger Not Scott said...

Yes, I think that NPR did mention that the owners were not really interested in selling at any price. In such a case, I think the city is sol unless they would be interested in committing resources to creating a public space in that area. It seems that too often municipalities confine themselves to private development as the only means for renovation. If the city were to see a public square in that area, then they might be better off enacting eminent domain.

Cities do need to occasionally change the face of things. But I'm adamant about the state using its power to directly benefit one private entity at the expense of another. Its an abuse of a very powerful tool.


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