Eminent domain law complicates disaster recovery in Kansas: KBSD-TV6, Dodge City KS, 10/8/07

Associated Press

A new eminent domain law has complicated the recovery process for Kansas towns hit by disasters.

The law bars local governments from seizing land and using it for private development without permission from the Kansas Legislature. Its impact was felt this year when Greensburg was hit by a tornado and flooding immersed Coffeyville and Osawatomie.

Lawmakers passed the law to prohibit instances in which private property was seized to build a commercial enterprise.

But the law applies to private housing as well. That makes it a problem because some residents walked away from their properties after the July floods and May tornadoes.

With no guarantee that legislators will approve a seizure, communities could be left with prime residential property that stays abandoned. Towns may not get back the housing they need.

KBSD-TV6, Dodge City KS: http://www.kbsd6.com