Eminent Domain Back on the Table: WIBW-TV13 (Topeka KS), 6/27/06

Eminent Domain Debate Returns

By Stephanie Wurtz

After a rather public debate on eminent domain earlier this year, it's back on the table, as developers and a current business owner butt heads over space in the College Hill project.

"It's an issue and it's an issue that needs to be dealt with," says Bill Newsome, a developer working on the College Hill project.

Newsome owns the building Mike Calvin's been leasing the past 8 years for his liquor store.

Newsome is asking the city to exercise its power of eminent domain, because he and Calvin can't reach an agreement on the purchase price for Calvin's lot.

And that's where the debate begins.

"It's a logical, systematic and fair way to bring two sides together and establish market value," Newsome says of eminent domain.

"I don't know why they insist that I'm not entitled to anything, for all my loss of income, my loss of business, that I should just relocate to some vacant building somewhere, I'm not sure why they think that is right," says Calvin.

The full council will consider the ordinance at its next meeting, July 11.

Council members did decide to move forward on one aspect of the project.

In a 7-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance solidifying the funding commitments for the development.

"It means that the road map to our obligations and the city's obligations have been finalized, and it allows the bond to be sold," says Newsome of the ordinance.

Calvin did not want to speak with 13 News on camera, but he did tell the council, he'll offer an even lower bargaining price to developers, before the upcoming vote on condemning his business.

WIBW-TV13: http://www.wibw.com