Yikes, this is a bit disturbing. Should a city’s government be able to take land belonging to a private individual? I’m leaning toward "no". This reminds me of a case in New York City, where the New York Times wants to move back into Times Square (natch) but someone else owned a piece of land they needed, so the city just up and took it. (Can’t give you more specifics than that, but I think it was on TV.)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people’s homes and businesses — even against their will — for private economic development.
It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.
Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.
Complete article: High court OKs personal property seizures
Originally posted 2005-06-23 23:13:00.