After the Kelo ruling
(Kelo v. City of New London, CT), where the supreme court affirmed that municipalities can use eminent domain
for private re-development as long as the state allows it. Since then, 34 states have banned eminent domain for public use. Well, Connecticut still hasn't done so
. Has your state?
I remember back on the morning after the US supreme court ruling, I contacted Mary Ann Handly and other lawmakers in CT to make sure blocking eminent domain for private use was at the top of their list, since wealthy corporations shouldn't be booting out individual property owners who can't fight back simply to fatten their purse. Consider Wal-Mart using eminent domain to buy up your neighborhood to build a store. It's humerous that Hercules, California used eminent domain to get rid of a Wal-Mart. Now that's proper use of eminent domain! Good riddance Wal-Mart!
At the same time,I am for something like people being ousted should get the greater of at least 200% of fair market value or a minimum -- whichever is highest -- for the inconvenience of having to move or relocate to another area. Imagine, for instance, the impact it would have on a poor family with children who can't afford to move because the least expensive homes in the area are about to be bulldozed. If an affordable home price in their area is $200,000 then it might be only fair to make the floor $200,000 so that people can continue to send their children to the same school system.
However, I believe they should block it now, to give people adequate time to decide what truly is fair since a developer stands to gain a lot, can lobby very hard, and people should be compensated more than fair market value for the extreme inconvenience of having to move. I also believe something should be done for renters, who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
I also believe that besides monetary considerations, there also should be an extended review period for any project that involves forceful taking of other peoples' property.
In conclusion, I believe that these sort of private emminent domain takings should be allowed if they are approved projects that will improve community character, but I think we need to consider the fact that a private taking isn't the same as taking land for a public park for public use -- and is about profit, and those inconvenienced should be compensated much more than fair market value for having to leave their property.