Wednesday, March 07, 2007

One Way Around Post-Kelo Reforms

From Eric Mansfield, regarding one aspect of University Park redevelopment:

    I had a nice chat with Ted Curtis, Vice President of the University of Akron, today about the proposed football stadium on Exchange Street on the south end of campus. It includes a 25,000-seat stadium and some business development; there will probably be a dorm or two and some classrooms as well. . . The follow-up to all of this is how it’s going over in the neighborhood. Curtis tells me that some home owners whose property is key to the deal have already said they won’t sell. Curtis said he didn’t blink even once; he simply told them “fine, we’ll build around you.” He’s quite serious. Don’t want to [sell] for a fair price? Get ready to be surrounded.

I've always taken a jaundiced view of the conservative vapors over the Kelo decision allowing municipal takings in blighted areas for economic development. The decision itself freely allowed states and municipalities to pass laws to limit the state's power. And the decision itself was an execise in judicial restraint, following well-established case law instead of creating new rights out of whole cloth.

Mansfield item shows the folly of getting overly worked up about the issue. A developer with a kitty of cash will be able to force people out or make them miserable in the process with or without eminent domain.

And when a developer is superior using economic power without resorting to government power, the right won't say boo about it.

Meanwhile, Ohio may have an eminent domain item on the ballot this fall. Finessing the political posturing on the issue will be a challenge.