6 January 2004
A process to condemn
Michael Bates, a couple of weeks ago, decried a plan by the University of Tulsa to, in his words, "replace another Route 66 landmark with empty space." The University's favored tool is the power of eminent domain, as wielded by the City of Tulsa on the school's behalf:
If TU had acquired all its land from willing sellers, you could make the case that we have no place telling this private institution what to do with its own land. But TU has gained so much property through the unconstitutional use of eminent domain for private benefit, the least we should expect is that TU use its land efficiently.
Meanwhile, there's an effort in Colorado to curb this sort of thing. A bill being introduced into the Colorado legislature this week by Rep. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) would bar the use of eminent domain for private projects:
If the city or the state comes to take my land, it darn well better be for the city and state's public use a courthouse, a road, a school not just because they'd rather see someone doing something else on my land.
The Colorado Municipal League [link requires Adobe Reader], for its part, "opposes state and federal actions interfering with municipal authority concerning land use regulations." Of course they do.