N.D. Voters Restrict Eminent Domain: Houston TX Chronicle, 11/8/06

By Dave Kolpack, Associated Press

North Dakota residents voted Tuesday to limit the government's right to acquire private property.

Former attorney general Heidi Heitkamp was a prominent advocate for a proposal to restrict local governments from acquiring land for private economic development projects, known as eminent domain.

"This is great news for property owners and great news for what we believe to be the American way," Heitkamp said of the measure's success Tuesday.

Jerald Hjelmstad, assistant director of the North Dakota League of Cities, said the eminent domain vote was "disappointing, but not surprising." He said his group opposed the eminent domain measure because it would hurt cities in efforts to clean up blighted areas.

"It was an uphill battle," he said. "Local governments will just have to adjust accordingly and try to keep the negative consequences to a minimum."

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