The bills are awaiting action, and the waiting might last forever.
Restricting eminent domain - PittsburghLIVE.com Two bills are awaiting action in Harrisburg -- and more legislation is in the works -- to protect property owners from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that allows governments to take private property in the name of economic development.
Rep. Tom Yewcic, D-Johnstown, introduced a pair of bills in the House that would bar governments from taking property from one private owner and giving it to another. Sen. Jeffrey Piccola of Dauphin County, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful, has a team of lawyers working on a bill for the Senate, as does Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park.
One interesting provision: If, after the property is taken, it is ever used for a "nonpublic purpose," the deed must go back to the original owner or the owner's heirs.
That's something to consider but would be silly in the real world. As property is taken with eminent domain, that property is purchased at "fair-market value." So the original land owners got their just compensation. They should NOT have the right to the property again should the public use be vacated.
I worry greatly about rights that last forever. We don't have a good track record in these matters. Look no further than the treatment of the Native Americans for some examples.
Consider the real world actions when a highway is built and then later turned into a bikeway and the path of public right of way can be greatly reduced or even given back in full. Even if it is only a generation away, the state should not have to go back to the original owner's heirs. The red tape alone would be a sizable hurdle so as to keep well enough alone and NOT return the property. Plus, the only one's to benefit are some lawyers.
The market place doesn't work that way. When I buy a car from you, I can sell it if I want to when I want to and to anyone who wants to buy it. I don't have to give back the car to seller of the car.
I do like the spirt of limiting eminent domain. But, we've got to be real.
The other avenue that needs serious attention is the "blight" designations. When a property is called "blighted" then it is easier for the state to take it. But with Murphy's actions (and that of city council too) most of downtown Pittsburgh is under the umbrella of "blight."
I want to see some blight reduction bills!
If I was mayor, or if I was a city council member, I'd get rid of all blight in the city or at least in my council district. Poof. With the stroke of a pen and a new designation -- the charge to take property with eminent domain got much more difficult.
To prove the point, consider this quote from the article:
When you run into (blighted) areas, a lot of times you'll find a lot of these properties have liens on them that exceed the value of the property," Gariti said. Often, the properties have been abandoned and the owners can't be found. "The only way they can be reused is if we clear the title to the property" by taking the land through eminent domain.
If owners of existing property can't be found -- often -- then I have no faith in the government to find past owners and heirs of past owners of property that was taken by eminent domain long ago. And, if the governement is mostly using eminent domain (ha, ha) to take these types of "abandoned property" then impossibible would be found within the suggested bill.
Mostly, I'd hate to see property owners hide from the government when they posses a net loss asset and then re-appear to the government in future generations when the property is being given away by the government.
We don't need more dumb laws with good intentions.
When property is no longer needed by the state, that property should be sold to the highest bidder.
Piccola said he's not sure he wants to prevent governments from using eminent domain as a development tool because it can help revitalize blighted areas.
Piccola is NOT sure. I am sure. I do want to prevent governement from using eminent domain.