SLO inn owners seek relocation costs in eminent domain decision: St Louis Obispo CA Tribune, 11/10/06

By Sally Connell

Owners of the Rose Garden Inn on Calle Joaquin in south San Luis Obispo are asking the city for relocation costs, arguing that they are forced to move their hotel office because of a realignment of the road by the city.

The city has brought an eminent domain proceeding in Superior Court to acquire a small unoccupied portion of the inn’s property on what will be the new alignment of the street. But the inn’s owners are arguing for relocation expenses for the office since they will have to move it to the new street. City staff has proposed rejecting the request for relocation expenses.

St Louis Obispo CA Tribune: http://www.sanluisobispo.com

Inlet Village saved from eminent domain: TCPalm, Jupiter FL, 11/12/06


With a nation and a community awash in the Democratic victory, the passage of all the amendments to Florida's Constitution is going somewhat unnoticed.

Amendment 8 in particular struck a chord with residents in the Jupiter area because of the possibility — no matter how slim — that the area around Inlet Village could be taken by eminent domain because it had received a "blighted" designation ... in order to create the town's Community Redevelopment Agency.

Anna Current, an Inlet Village resident and vocal opponent of eminent domain, said Thursday, "The passage of Amendment 8 is like a nail in the coffin. Now no one will be able to take property from owners and put it into private hands."

Although the threat of eminent domain in Inlet Village has been eliminated, there are still significant challenges in this area, not the least of which is maintaining the character of Inlet Village and its role in the town's grand Riverwalk plan.

The Town Council should keep in mind that what a governmental agency designated as "blighted" most residents consider to be a charming and unique area that must have its character preserved.

Councilor Todd Wodraska said after Tuesday's meeting that experts at a recent brainstorming session discussing Inlet Village told him to not let parking lead the plans for Inlet Village, but rather to focus on maintaining and emphasizing its character.

The council and the staff must keep that in mind as it continues to wrestle with the look, feel and purpose of Inlet Village.

Like so many other things, once that unique flavor is gone, it can't be replaced by a Disneyesque version of a "fishing village," no matter how well-intentioned.

TCPalm, Jupiter FL: http://www.tcpalm.com

Eminent Domain Claims Alarm Monitoring Company: CEPro, 11/10/06

By Julie Jacobson

[Eminent domain abuse] has now hit close to home in [the consumer electronics] industry. USA Central Station, an alarm monitoring company that offers its services to dealers, will have to resettle its Port Chester, N.Y. operations if the courts and an allegedly nefarious developer get their way. President Bart Didden is claiming that a private developer demanded an $800,000 payoff for a new business venture or the developer would get the Village of Port Chester to take Didden's property through eminent domain.

Didden refused, court papers indicate, and the Village took his property the next day.

Didden and another affected party, Domenick Bologna, filed suit in federal court, arguing that the taking violated the Fifth Amendment, which only allows property to be taken for a "public use." The trial court threw out their case, and the Second Circuit agreed.

Because their property lay within a "redevelopment area" - a region the Village had designated as subject to its eminent domain power - the Constitution doesn't protect them from condemnation, even though they had alleged that they were condemned solely because they resisted the developer's attempted extortion.

The Institute for Justice, which fought the Kelo case, is appealing Didden and Bologna's case to the Supreme Court. The group argues, "[E]ven after the Kelo decision, courts have to evaluate eminent domain actions on an individual, case-by-case basis. A government's determination that a whole area needs 'redevelopment' doesn't give it a blank check to take every property within that region for any reason it chooses -- nor does it give private developers free reign to extort money from property owners in the neighborhood."

CEPro - the Consumer Electronics Association: http://www.cepro.com

Eminent domain abuse in Mt Gilead OH, 11/10/06

By Keith Owen

As a concerned citizen, I believe a Judge - Howard E. Hall - is evicting people unlawfully from a residential community in a secluded area of Mt Gilead OH to drill for possible oil.

Mt Gilead in Morrow County is very low-income area. The people are very poor. Most are elderly, some are disabled parents with small children, but these issues have not stopped Judge Hall from demanding they leave their property without compensation. It has come down to security Guards and the Sheriff's department harassing the residents. The water and sewer systems being locked up and denied. Heavy fines being placed on these poor people, over $100 a day for staying on "their" property.

Judge Hall has used every legal loophole he can to exert his will on these people. It is just wrong/ He is getting away with this abuse because it is a low-income area where people cannot afford a long drawn out court battle, and Judge Hall knows it. The situation has been going on for more then 2 yrs.

Judge Hall has been in office since 1999 and abuses and harassment - violations of citizens' constitutional rights - have gone on every since. The Judge uses the sheriff's department as a harassment team.

I fear this county is being over run by a small group of bullies in powerful positions. They are dictating what people must do. If anyone objects, Judge Hall take flimsy, false charges and exerts the stiffest penalties in the sentencing phase, causing the rest of the community to agree and cower from these bandits.

These injustices are insults to the American Constitution. The Judge does not seem to care about the people he was voted in to protect. The State has not responded to our complaints and the residents affected by these actions are in dire straights.

Keith Owen: RedWriters@aol.com

New Jersey Eminent Domain Reform: Comments on S-1975: New Jersey Eminent Domain Blog, 11/9/06

By William Ward

Comments submitted to Senator Ronald Rice and the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee addressing bill S-1975, which seeks to amend the Local Redevelopment Housing Law (LHRL) and portions of the Eminent Domain Act of 1971.

The key points are as follows:
  1. The definition of blight should be clearly defined and related to a current characteristic of decay and deterioration. The definition of blight should not exceed the consitutional limitation.
  2. Environmental clean up plans initiated with the DEP should supercede subsection (i); furthermore, the aggregate of parcels should not lead to the "Berman-ization" of New Jersey.
  3. Transparency of process affects both property owners and tenants. Both property owners and tenants should receive notice of all proposed action by the muncipality.
  4. Time restrictions of blight designations are required to prevent abuse; the determination should remain in effect for a period of five years from the date of the adoption of the ordinance declaring a property in an area in need of redevelopment.
  5. The relationships between municipal government and their attorneys, developers, contractors and consultants should be called to the highest ethical standards and there should be prohibitions against "pay to play" and other conflicts of interest.
  6. The legislation should be effective and be applicable to ongoing condemnation cases within one month of signing into law by the Governor and should apply to all pending condemnation cases.
  7. There should be the following additional changes to the Eminent Domain Act of 1971:

    a. Section 3-25 of the Act should be amended to require the condemning authority in Local Redevelopment Housing cases to file the Declaration of Taking and deposit in Superior Court Trust Funds within 30 days of the filing of the eminent domain complaint.

    b. A provision should be added to the Eminent Domain Act to mandate the Civil Assignment Judge to give priority scheduling to all eminent domain cases.

    c. The date of declaration of blight as a value date should be deleted. N.J.S.A. 20:3-30 (a)-(d) should be amended. The (d) subsection should be removed. It is now being used to force a lower value on property owners condemned within a blighted area.

The full text of Mr Ward's comments are online at http://www.njeminentdomain.com/state-of-new-jersey-new-jersey-eminent-domain-reform-comments-on-s1975.html

New Jersey Eminent Domain Blog: http://www.njeminentdomain.com