Monday, October 29, 2007

Move to weaken eminent domain reforms

"Tax cap, eminent domain divide legislative hopefuls at debate"
By Harry Minium, The Virginian-Pilot, © October 28, 2007

There was also a partisan divide on the issue of eminent domain. [Sen. Nick Rerras, R-Norfolk] and [Hank] Giffin said they want the General Assembly to roll back some provisions of a new law that makes it more difficult for government to force landowners to sell property.

[Ralph] Northam and [Del. Paula Miller, D-Norfolk] said they generally liked the new law though they have benefitted from eminent domain.

Miller lives with her husband, Circuit Court Clerk George E. Schaefer, in an Ocean View home acquired by the city as blighted and sold to a developer, who sold it to Miller and Schaefer.

Northam lives in a new home in East Beach, a 100-acre area cleared of 1,600 mostly blighted homes by the city's housing authority.

Northam said the changes in the eminent domain law were made "to prevent the bad dream of bulldozers and trucks showing up on our property to take it down. The law was being used to create tax revenue for cities."

Replied Rerras: "The bill did some good things. But it went too far in setting back redevelopment efforts in cities like Norfolk."

Giffin noted that he bill was passed because of abuse, but he called it an overreaction. "A building has to be falling down, leaning over or a health hazard, and somebody can come up and fix it up just a little bit" and get back in compliance, he said.

Miller and Northam said the cities need to use aggressive code enforcement before taking property. But both softened their stance from earlier in the campaign, saying that if the current law proves too restrictive, some change may be needed.

Full Story

"Virginia 36th state to reform eminent domain", April 8, 2007. Institute for Justice and Va. Property Rights Coalition interpret the 3 statutes.

Eminent domain; definition of public uses and limitations thereon.

HB2954 : SB781 : SB1296


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