Saturday, March 4, 2006

Hurry up...let's take their land before it's illegal

Minnetonka, MN wants to take land using eminent domain so that it can sell it to a developer. But they have to hurry, because Minnesotans for Eminent Domain Reform are working to ban such practices (the governmental powers resulting from the Kelo ruling were already explicitly legal in Minnesota). From this story:
Minnetonka will use a process called a "quick take" to seize the properties for the Glen Lake project. If it can get a judge to agree, it can take the land in about three months, before prices are set or legal appeals are completed.
The redevelopment plan for Glen Lake, one of Minnetonka's oldest neighborhoods, consists of about 180 condominiums and 20,000 square feet of retail space at Excelsior Boulevard and Woodhill Road. If the two lots are acquired, they would be turned over to developer Tom Wartman, the owner of the Glenhaven shopping center. He would reimburse the city for its costs.

Minnesota legislators have proposed laws sharply limiting cities' eminent domain powers. Minnetonka officials said they needed to act quickly to start proceedings now, before the Legislature goes into session, because changes to the law could be made retroactive to the beginning of the session March 1. They also want to have the property available for summer construction.
Maybe I'm being too harsh, though. Do the Minnetonka public officials have lofty goals?
The city cites three public purposes for its use of eminent domain: cleaning up blighted property and building affordable housing in the project as a whole, and building a public path on the Zachman property.
Whatever. Minnetonka is one of the wealthiest suburbs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, especially the part west of Interstate 494. Does this look like a blighted area to you?

UPDATE: For comments, see the original post here.

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