Developers Want To Force Florida City To Seize Homes

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After the Supreme Court's unconstitutional (in my opinion) Kelo decision, allowing the City of New London, Conn., to seize residents homes and then turn them over to private developers, many states adopted legislation outlawing such activities. One such state was Florida. Now some developers in Riviera Beach, Fla. may try suing the city to force town officials to take people's property.

According to the AP, before Florida passed its law against using eminent domain to benefit private developers:

The city was moving ahead with the plans over the objections of some residents who refused to move out of their homes to make way for the project in potentially one of the nation's largest eminent domain seizures.

Mayor Michael Brown has said the city would use eminent domain to force home and business owners to sell their properties in an effort to bring a higher tax base and better paying jobs to the city. However, city officials contend that many residents would choose to sell, making forceable eviction unnecessary.

But after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that local governments could use the power of eminent domain to obtain property for such private development, Florida and 30 other states passed laws restricting the seizures. . . .

However, Floyd Johnson, executive director of Riviera Beach's redevelopment agency, said the city now has no choice but to follow the law. It cannot force residents out of their homes against their will, Johnson said.

Not force residents out of their homes against their will? Imagine that!

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  1. “…in an effort to bring a higher tax base and better paying jobs to the city.”

    Pfft. Ten bucks says at least 90% of his city is zoned to forbid commercial and industrial development.

  2. A lot of the beach towns in Florida have the same, uh, “dilemma”: What do you do with the beach trash? How can you have million dollar condo’s right next to a biker bar? The solution is to get rid of the beach trash (read: native Floridians who built the community) so that wealthy northerners can create a higher “tax base.” And if gentrification doesn’t happen as fast as the Mayor would like (election cycles are quick, man!), then just kick the trashy, native-Floridian SOBs out. Riviera Beach, FL: where new money trash rules the town.

  3. Pfft. Ten bucks says at least 90% of his city is zoned to forbid commercial and industrial development.

    While I often disagree with you, on this point I believe you’re right. I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and I’ve seen hundreds of acres of formerly commercial-zoned land all across the region get rezoned residential to accomodate single-family home and condo development. The only new commercial developments all seem to be retail. I’ve always wondered how future economic growth is to be accomodated if businesses have no place to conduct business, but I must not be as smart as the geniuses at planning & zoning. You can’t even get new hotels built in the tourist areas because of opposition by new (wealthy) residents, who seem to think old ’50s beach shacks (how cute!) are more desirable than a large new hotel, never mind asking how the tourism business is supposed to expand. Anti-business land-use policies make me think of California, which is renowned for its hostility to business.

  4. The whole idea of “increasing the tax base” being a proper “public use” of seized property entails that the government isn’t of, by, and for the people (who exist prior to, apart from, and over the government they ordained and established); instead, the government rules over and owns the people and their property. I don’t know how unconstitutional Kelo-style seizures are (obviously there is some disagreement on that point, even among supreme court justices), but I do know that they are incompatible with a free society, and with the idea that the people are sovereign.

  5. i>I don’t know how unconstitutional Kelo-style seizures are

    I do: it is 100% unconstitutional to seize property for the sole purpose of turning it over to private parties where the only public benefit is a higher tax base.

    You see, the words in the Constitution allow seizure only for “public use”. Our semi-literate Supreme Court issued a ruling that Kelo-style seizures do serve a “public purpose.” Now, my guess is that even someone without Ivy League law clerks kissing his ass all day can see that “public purpose” is different from “public use.”

  6. RC Dean:

    I agree with you 100%. Since this unconstitutional ruling came down from the Supreme Soviet, oops, I mean Court, what the hell can we do about it? I mean, who out-ranks the Supreme Court Justices, and how do we go about impeaching or firing them?

  7. I mean, who out-ranks the Supreme Court Justices

    The Galactic Court. However, the courthouse is in the Achernar system, so appeals have been known to take a while. Their ruling on Marbury v. Madison is expected late next century.

  8. the government rules over and owns the people and their property

    their property? surely you mean the governments property! i mean, they take your car if their trick dogs smell a whiff of “drugs” your house if the IRS thinks you owe them more than they’ve already expropriated, your kids if you give them fast food, they take your mind in the public school system, they friggin take everything if you let them, and we mustn’t let them

  9. Anyone catch CSI: Miami the other night? They had a whole Eminent Doman subplot running.

  10. RC Dean, Buckshot, et. al.,

    I didn’t say that Kelo seizures SHOULDN’T be unconstitutional, and I certainly said they were against the spirit of the document. My point is that when people can’t agree on the meaning of plain words and phrases, what the Constitution does or doesn’t say becomes hard to determine.

    See also, “interstate commerce,” “shall not be infringed,” etc.

    In MY version of English, Kelo takings are unconstitutional. But clearly, most of the Justices don’t agree with ME.

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