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Friday, September 25, 2021

One of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in recent years has, thanks to the Great Recession, turned into a hollow victory: The 2005 ruling in favor of localities invoking eminent domain land claims for private development left New London, Connecticut with a few acres of weed-strewn emptiness.

[Susette] Kelo and six other homeowners fought for years, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2005, justices voted 5-4 against them, giving cities across the country the right to use eminent domain to take property for private development.

The decision was sharply criticized and created grassroots backlash. Forty states quickly passed new, protective rules and regulations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some protesters even tried to turn the tables on now-retired Justice David Souter, trying unsuccessfully in 2006 to take his New Hampshire home by eminent domain to build an inn…

Overall, proponents say about two-thirds of the 90-acre site is developed, in part because of a 16-acre, $25 million state park. The other third of the land remains without the promised residential housing, office buildings, shops and hotel/conference center facility.

“If there had been no litigation, which took years to work its way through (the court system), then a substantial portion of this project would be constructed by now,” said John Brooks, executive director of the New London Development Corp. “But we are victims of the economic cycle, and there is nothing we can do about that.”

Maybe New London can re-lease the land back to the former homeowners, so they can rebuild anew — and then get their replaced domiciles re-seized about 10 years later. Self-sustaining business plan, if nothing else.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/25/2009 09:16:39 AM
Category: Business, Politics, Society
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