Jump to content

Missouri landowners win eminent domain test case


Auburn85

Recommended Posts

http://watchdog.org/...main-test-case/

By John K. Ross | For Missouri Watchdog

Landowners 1, Eminent Domain 0.

Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court shot down a port authority’s attempt to seize 30 acres of land in Scott County from owners Velma Jackson and Alicia Seabaugh.

Officials from the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority wanted to use eminent domain to acquire the property, undeveloped land along the Mississippi River, and lease it to a private company. The company wanted the property so it could transfer oil from North Dakotaby rail onto river barges.

The unanimous decision hinged on the court’s interpretation of a 2006 law limiting the use of condemnation for economic development.

“The Missouri Supreme Court decided that Missouri’s post-Kelo reform statute has some real teeth,” Dana Berliner, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, which litigates eminent domain cases nationwide, said in an email. “When the new law says that property cannot be taken for economic development, it means it.”

Missouri reformed its eminent domain laws — one of 44 states to do so — after the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2005 decision in Kelo v. New London, which allowed New London, Connecticut, to seize a residential neighborhood for a redevelopment project. The current statute prohibits eminent domain procedures where economic development is the sole purpose.

Last summer, a Scott County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of the port authority, finding that, in addition to economic development, the purpose of the land grab was to promote “river commerce” and “private investment” in the port. But the state Supreme Court reversed the decision, ruling that promoting commerce and investment is promoting economic development.

With the funds from leasing the property, port officials had envisioned a $20 million project to add infrastructure to existing port authority property. Without eminent domain, “It really does limit you once you build a port,” Dan Overbey, executive director of the port authority, told the Associated Press. “You can’t really hop, skip and jump around to expand the port. If you have someone and they don’t want to sell…it leaves you with few alternatives.”

But that was what the legislature intended, according to Supreme Court Judge Zel Fisher, who wrote the opinion: “Though [the revised statute] may make a taking more difficult to effectuate, that difficulty is the intended result of the statute, the primary purpose of which was to limit the opportunities for which a condemning authority may use the power of eminent domain [italics in the original].”

Prior to the law’s passage, Missouri municipalities had been among the most active users of eminent domain in the country. Officials in St. Louis, Kansas City, Arnold, Blue Springs, Clayton and other communities around the state either condemned or threatened to condemn property for private redevelopment projects.

Before reform, the law even allowed private developers to file condemnation actions independently; now only government agencies can do so.

“This is a significant decision,” Berliner said, “because many states enacted similar provisions in the wave of eminent domain reform statutes. Missouri’s Supreme Court is not known for its protection of property rights…. so if even the Missouri Supreme Court holds that these laws impose real restraints on government, then all the other states with similar laws are likely to follow suit.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites





The people bring the suit against the port authority are co-trustees of a family trust. My question is did they just not want to sell at all, or do they want more money for the property? I'm thinking they want a lot more cash than what the government offered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a big fan of eminent domain anyway. If the people didn't want to sell at all or demanded more money before doing so that is their right. The fact that the government helps private businesses just take what they want under the guise of "economic advancement" or whatever is so primed for corruption it's unbelievable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a big fan of eminent domain anyway. If the people didn't want to sell at all or demanded more money before doing so that is their right. The fact that the government helps private businesses just take what they want under the guise of "economic advancement" or whatever is so primed for corruption it's unbelievable.

Here, here! I agree 100%!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Members Online

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...