City's attempt to seize business through eminent domain laws fails: WAVY-TV (Portsmouth VA), 6/7/06

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that the City of Norfolk overstepped its authority in trying to seize a junkyard through the use of eminent domain laws.

Junk yard owner Chuck Andrews sums up Coca-Cola's attempt to get his land cheap by having the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority [NRHA] condemn it through eminent domain by saying "they thought they could get it for nothing so [they] found [they] can't get it for nothing".

The Supreme Court ruled the NRHA did not deny Andrews due process - that taking his private property to stem blighting and deteriorating conditions is a public purpose.

Even if the land would be given to Coke for a parking lot.

However the Supreme Court ruled the authority's plan was flawed, and overbroad.

The court also ruled the authority failed in not giving Andrews a one year notice to correct the blight - to make it right.

Noted property-rights attorney Joseph Waldo had argued the authority didn't want Andrews to correct the blight, they just wanted him to leave so the property could be leased to Coca-Cola.

The authority had no comment at all - especially on the question of will it now give Andrews a one year notice.

WAVY-TV: http://www.wavy.com