Monson to decide on land-taking act: Springfield MA Republican, 5/29/07

Monson to decide on land-taking act
By Lori Stabile

Robert E. Kaddy said he is pleased that Town Meeting voted to adopt the "private policy protection act" for Monson.

Kaddy went before the selectmen to make a case for the private property rights protection act last year, and selectmen voted to put the bylaw amendment on the May 14 Town Meeting ballot so voters could decide. The bylaw will protect taxpayers from land takings for private development.

"Who knows what's going to happen down the road," Kaddy said in a recent interview.

Monson is the second community in the state to adopt the act, Kaddy said. Scituate was the first, he said. The bylaw still needs approval from the attorney general's office, but he doesn't expect there to be any problems.

"There wasn't much discussion" at Town Meeting, "but I'm very happy that people approved it," Kaddy said. "It will protect them."

He became interested in the issue after reading about New London, Conn., where the city planned to take private homes through eminent domain proceedings, for a waterfront commercial development. The owners objected, but the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the city.

Any eminent domain takings in Monson have to be approved by Town Meeting, and officials here said they didn't think that what happened in Connecticut could occur here. Still, Kaddy persisted, and talked with state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, D-Barre, about the proposal.

The act does not get rid of eminent domain provisions entirely. It does not prevent eminent domain when it comes to widening roads, or rights of way for sewer and water lines, or other public uses.

Kaddy, who moved to Monson five years ago from West Springfield, said Monson has great potential. He has some other ideas in the works, but said they are still in the beginning stages.

Springfield MA Republican: http://www.masslive.com/hampfrank/republican