Eminent Domain, also known as condemnation, originally was used only for public projects such as roads and schools. Currently urban renewal agencies routinely condemn on behalf of private developers and then provide tax incentives and subsidies to those developing the “blighted” areas.
Blight can be defined in any manner the authorities wish. In Lakewood, Ohio it was defined as the property not having air conditioning and a two car garage. Fortunately a grassroots campaign combined with legal assistance from the Institute of Justice activated the voters to rescind the blight designation and the property owners were able to remain in their homes. read the Institute for Justice article
This controversial practice has generated considerable litigation and publicity in recent years. Issues arising from eminent domain abuse include the legality of the “blighting,” challenges to the alleged “public” purpose and the amount of compensation the property owner is given at the time of the taking.
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