New London mayor proposes eminent domain compromise: University of Pittsburgh, School of Law, Jurist, 2/8/06

By Tom Henry

Beth Sabilia, the mayor of New London, Connecticut, has proposed a compromise for a group of four homeowners involved in the eminent domain case that went before the US Supreme Court last year. In Kelo v. New London, the Court held last June by a 5-4 margin that the local authority in New London, Connecticut could expropriate private land, homes and businesses for private redevelopment when the taking would confer economic benefits on the community such as more jobs and tax revenue as well as for the more traditional purposes of roads, schools, or renewal of urban blight.

Under Sabilia's plan, the homeowners would be allowed to remain in their homes provided they pay the city to continue to live there. The homeowners would also have to surrender ownership rights to the city.

The Court's decision ignited a firestorm of public protest for its apparent disregard for private property rights, and prompted legislatures in more than 25 states to consider measures that could limit the ability of city and county governments to invoke eminent domain to take property for retail, office or residential development. Two other homeowners, one who doesn't reside in the home and another who moved in after the court battle commenced, were excluded from the mayor's plan.

The Jurist: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase