Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Eminent Domain op-ed

Charity Osborn wrote in the News Tribune last weekend about the recent Supreme Court eminent domain case. She voices the concern that the Revised Code of Washington allows local governments to designate property as blighted, then condemn and sell it to the highest bidder.

A significant part of the problem is that local governments around the country have used a broad definition of blighted in order to condemn private property and sell it to private entities who are preferred by the local government.

We should consider putting stronger protections of private property into the county charter. The least politically connected people are most at risk.

2 Comments:

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous George said...

I agree that either through state law or county charter there should be assurance to property owners that their property can only be taken for actual government purposes or the provision of essential services, which would not include increase in taxable value.
In the event of blight there should be statutory methods for elimination other than clearing title for resale to developers or expansion of a neighboring business.
To me provison of dormitory space for a college or expansion of a business are insufficient reasons.
If the government purpose is abandoned or ends, the property should be offered back to the owner from whom taken.

 
At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone needs to check with Gov Gregoire about eminent domain. A couple of weeks ago there was a news story on a local channel about a State on the east coast who had made decisions about their eminent domain powers. In an interview, Gov Gregoire said Wahsington is not now nor has it ever been an eminent domain state.
Since she was our Attny General, she should know. We are so uninformaed about so many things in this county.

 

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