Eminent domain is expensive and nasty: Swampscott (MA) Reporter, 5/12/05

Letter to the Editor

By Michael Gibeault

I was taken aback after reading your editor's notes in last week's Swampscott Reporter regarding one letter from me and one other regarding Warrant Article 25.

No matter how much the Implementation Committee tries to embellish the wording of the article, whether now or at Town Meeting, it remains eminent domain spelled out in black and white with its intent clear for all to read for themselves.

Eminent domain is an expensive and nasty proposition. The Implementation Committee does not want voters to realize this, but their Article will eventually also involve taking land from private residents.

If the town is capable of actually going through with this, then all Swampscott residents should beware. Why would the Town stop here? There are many great ideas out there that could involve usage of land that is not currently owned by the town.

For example, why should only the people who own beachfront property be allowed to enjoy the coastline? Shouldn't all residents, tourists and the general public be able to enjoy it? Why not create a recreational trail along the shore? We could "acquire by eminent domain a recreational easement." The town could also qualify for a number of coastal grants available for such projects. I think you get the idea.

This is just another case in the now rampant misuse and abuse of eminent domain.

Swampscott Reporter: www2.townonline.com/swampscott