Eminent Domain, A Final Thought
there has been much deserved ado about the Mayor's redevelopment plan
and the city using redevelopment as a tool for condemnation/eminent
domain, other serious considerations have gone mostly without
discussion. Most have focused entirely on the redevelopment plans
potential easier use of condemnation/eminent domain to take what the
city would define as "blighted property." The word blighted conjures up
visions old, dilapidated or just underutilized properties as determined
by city officials. While this is bad enough, it can and has been worse.
For the last five years under Mayor Matt Brookshire's regime, the city has wielded the condemnation/eminent domain laws like, as Dale Hurst called it, a "CLUB", taking private property several times and using the "CLUB" as a negotiating tool when private land owners refused to roll over for the city. At least one time using condemnation/eminent domain to acquire private property outside the city limits. The "CLUB" was again brought out of the bag to acquire property along Hwy. 321 for a million gallon water tank. The "CLUB" was whipped out to acquire property for the walking trail. And most recently, the "CLUB" has been waved around the heads of private property owners who might stand in the way of the city's dreams of grandeur with the Creekwood development. None of these instances involved blighted property. Just private property the city wanted.
The Mayor's redevelopment plan is certainly a devious and dangerous plan conceived with only one purpose in mind. However, with the recent decision of the US Supreme Court in the case of Kelo vs New London, the court has opened wide the door for local governments to almost at will take private property for any use. Add the Court's decision with Lenoir City's insatiable desire and willingness to take private property and you have a real disaster in the making.
As Lenoir City residents go to the polls, they should keep in mind that the city has long arms and anyone within their reach could eventually find themselves under the city's "CLUB".
It can now happen to anybody anywhere.
Click here for one nightmare story.