Eminent domain bill might cost the public more money for projects: West Central Tribune (Willmar MN), 5/3/06

By Carolyn Lange

A bill in the Minnesota Legislature that’s designed to curtail government’s use of eminent domain for private economic development could have unexpected consequences for city and county governments.

Kandiyohi County Attorney Boyd Beccue told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that a provision in the proposed bill could drastically increase the cost of right of way that local units of government pay for public projects, like roads.

The bill was introduced to prevent private land from being taken and given to another private individual or entity for economic development.

But Beccue said a clause in the bill says that governments must pay the attorney fees for landowners if their appraisal is 20 percent more than the government’s last offer. He said often the landowner doesn’t provide the appraisal until the day of the hearing.

Without a chance for fair negotiations, he said cities and counties will end up paying a lot of attorney fees to landowners in right-of-way acquisition procedures for public projects.

Beccue said he’s working with the Minnesota County Attorneys Association to get the wording in the bill changed.

West Central Tribune: http://www.wctrib.com