Met Council to consider ban on eminent domain funding: Minneapolis/St Paul (MN) Business Journal, 1/6/06

By John Vomhof Jr

The Metropolitan Council will consider a ban on grants for projects in which local governments use eminent domain to transfer property from one private party to another, the agency said.

The proposed policy comes in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld local governments' rights to condemn land and transfer it to private developers if it would result in a public benefit. The ruling allows eminent domain to be used for projects that would generate more jobs or increased tax revenue, as well as public-use projects such as roads and parks.

Met Council Chairman Peter Bell said the policy would "help prevent the abuse of eminent domain and safeguard the property rights of individuals and business owners."

The Met Council's Community Development Committee will consider the policy at its Jan. 10 meeting. The committee's recommendation would then go to the full council.

Eminent domain has become a heated topic since the Supreme Court's decision in June. On Thursday, a coalition called for Minnesota to reform its eminent domain laws. Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Rep. Jeff Johnson, R-Plymouth, said they will co-author a bill that would only allow eminent domain to be enacted for public-use projects.

Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal: http://twincities.bizjournals.com