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Friday, February 16, 2007

Eminent Domain Controls: Two Ohio GOP Lawmakers Seek Statewide Vote

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Two Northeast Ohio senators plan to introduce a resolution next week seeking a statewide referendum that will strengthen private property rights and curb the ability of local governments to take land for city projects. The proposed constitutional amendment has the backing of Ohio Sen. President Bill Harris.

Sen. Kevin Coughlin, R-Cuyahoga Falls, said he does not believe the use of eminent domain is consistent across Ohio. "I believe Ohio voters want the opportunity to support private property rights at the ballot box. Eminent domain should be used sparingly and only when it benefits the public as a whole. Our laws should reflect that and leave no wiggle room for government to abuse its power," Coughlin said in a statement released by the state Republican Party. His co-sponsor, Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, said "from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, all Ohioans deserve to have their private property rights respected and protected."

Traditionally, eminent domain has been used by government to acquire property for college campuses, airports, roads and other public purposes. Recently, it has begun to be used for economic redevelopment. Cities would try to take land for private developers who then would build shopping centers or offices. In Norwood, a Cincinnati suburb, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled last year that a shopping center project was improperly using eminent domain to remove homeowners.

A GOP news release about the proposed eminent domain resolution in the Ohio Senate is HERE.

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