Monday, October 01, 2007

Missouri Eminent Domain Petition Question

Petition gatherers are circulating throughout the community seeking signers for a proposed referendum regarding the future of eminent domain in Missouri.

However, after speaking with two of the signature gatherers, it was unclear exactly what the petitioners seeks to change.

The gatherers were mentioning that the petition would give Missouri voters a chance to vote on eminent domain. However, they could not answer the question of whether that meant every time government wanted to use eminent domain, there would need to be a public vote.

Does anyone know the purpose of the eminent domain petition?

11 comments:

UrbanReviewSTL said...

Up until the city/region gets around to enacting some updated zoning/planning to reflect the desires of the community I'd support requiring a vote of the people within the jurisdiction. The leaders should have a choice --- enact modern zoning reflecting what the people want or make each and every deal go through a lengthy process to see if that is what the people want.

Anonymous said...

You can read the two approved petitions here:

http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2008petitions/08init_pet.asp#2008001

Neither sounds like the one you saw.

MO-CPR said...

The petition being circulated by Missouri Citizens for Property Rights (www.mo-cpr.org) is intended to stop ALL eminent domain for private gain.

We do not think 51% (or any other percentage) of a community should be able to force a private property owner to sell his property so someone else can turn a profit. Its a matter of principle.

The petition will give the voters of the entire state an opportunity to amend the state constitution to limit the use of eminent domain to traditional uses - that is, projects that are publicly owned and used.

"Blight" will no longer be an excuse to misuse eminent domain. The focus will be change from "land centric" to "people centric". By that I mean that the policy shift will be toward protecting the rights of the neighbors of problem properties, not punishing them along with the irresponsible property owners.

As it is, "areas" can be deemed "blighted" and perfectly good properties be taken along with the bad ones. Very loose definitions of blight mean no one's home is safe.

What's more, it is typical for things the city is responsible for to be a major part of the rationale for a blight designation. In other words, if thw city doesn't do its job, you can lose your home or business.

I am available to talk to groups about our amendment. Thanks for your interest!

Ron Calzone, chairman
Missouri Citizens for Property Rights

Anonymous said...

How will the proposed eminent domain law help people living next to problem properties? It seems to be doing the exact opposite by removing a tool from the redeveloper's tool kit.

RPA-2 homeowner said...

NO ONE should ever be forced to give up their home for a private development. No amount of safeguarding will ever fully protect the often underclass, elderly, or otherwise helpless individuals who are now regularly victimized by greedy developers and aldermen.

You can't fully appreciate the horrors of what Missouri law currently permits until you've lived it. I'm thinking specifically of a widow and a retired couple, both of whom lived on the other side of Manchester Rd. from me, who were threatened, intimidated, low-balled, and eventually beaten down by Jonathan Browne, Novus Development, and the City of Rock Hill.

It won't work to redefine blight or improve the compensation process. Developers should acquire property with fair offers and negotiation, and if they can't obtain a sale or acquire a parcel, then NO DEAL!!!

MO-CPR said...

Anonymous,

I'm glad you asked how the neighbors of the problem properties will be helped by our amendment.

First, understand that as it is now the constitution allows for "areas" to be taken by eminent domain just because some of the properties in that area are "blighted, substandard, or insanitary". You might have the best house in the state and it can be taken because your neighbor is a slob. What's more, it can also be taken because the city to which you pay taxes doesn't do their job maintaining streets, sidewalks, etc. - things that neither you nor your neighbors can help.

We think that it's government's job to protect your rights from your slob neighbor - not punish you along with him. The city should use code enforcement, not eminent domain.

As far as "tools" are concerned, the present system of blighting and taking of properties actually dissuades property owners from maintaining and improving their properties. It also keep investors out if they can't take the entire project. The present system actually CAUSES blight!

It's jut not right to punish innocent people because someone else isn't being a responsible neighbor.

Ron Calzone, chairman
Missouri Citizens for Property Rights
www.mo-cpr.org

Anonymous said...

This ballot iniative language actually is similar to the awful Measure 37 that afflicted the state of Oregon.

The language goes far beyond eminent domain and will penalize municipalities that seek to enact land use limits for a whole host of valid reasons.

Google Measure 37 for more.

MO-CPR said...

Anonymous,

You are confusing the 2006 eminent domain petition (from a different group) with ours.

Go to www.mo-cpr.org to see our petition, being circulated in 2007 & 2008. It is not at all like Measure 37 in CA.

- Ron Calzone, chairman
Missouri Citizens for Property Rights

Anonymous said...

Why don[t you put the petition on the internet, other SEnate and Congressional issues do? I can't seem to dind anyone to sign up with, at least let us know where to sign the petitions.

Anonymous said...

From the mo-cpr.org website
"shall not be directly or indirectly taken or damaged unless such taking is necessary for a public use and just compensation is rendered"

I just moved from Oregon this year.

That is identical to the Measure 37 clause that caused all the trouble in Oregon.
It's that "indirectly" part that includes takings by property zoning, making a city liable for any loss in property value from zoning laws.

Anonymous said...

Question about this...
in our county we have a lot of property that was bought by the county during the 1993 floods and has not been used for any purpose since other than just sitting there.

Wouldn't this amendment mean that anyone who was bought out by the county could now buy back their property for the original purchase price?
And since the county is required by FEMA to buy them out, then the county would be forced to rebuy the property at current market price; repeating the cycle every 5 years since no development, public or private, can take place on the properties?