Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Eminent Domain Fight-Back

The New York Sun editorializes today in favor of the various legislative measures, post-Kelo, that are being considered in the state:

Kelo at least left the door open to legislative restrictions on eminent domain. To that end, a state assemblyman, Richard Brodsky, has proposed a bill requiring a local government to hold a vote on any taking.

Meanwhile, a state senator, Carl Marcellino, has introduced a bill to limit the definition of a "public project" to those that "provide economic development in a blighted area of the state." He plans to use hearings in January to "tighten the definition of 'blighted'" in his bill. A separate bill by Senator John DeFrancisco would restrict the power of eminent domain to public projects, and where an "industrial development agency approves the use of eminent domain" the local legislature would need to approve it first.

In the City Council, Letitia James has proposed a bill prohibiting the city from using the "power of eminent domain to take ownership of private property solely for economic development purposes."
As we have stated before, now that the Supreme Court decision has brought the issue to the forefront a healthy on the merits of eminent domain can begin. Nuance is important in these deliberations and the desire to promote economic development needs to be balanced with protecting the rights of small business and homeowners.