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Reason Foundation

A new low in eminent domain abuse

Adrian Moore
March 8, 2006, 9:25am

The Village of North Hills in Long Island is considering using eminent domain to seize a private country club and golf course in order to open it up to the public. City staff are arguing that having a public golf course would increase community property values and thus justify the takeover. Must be good drugs out there. When is the last time you saw higher property values near a municipal golf course than you saw near a private country club? Worse than being wrong, though, is being evil. For no other public purpose than raising property values, they want to seize people's property? By that logic, each state in the nation should use eminent domain to seize 25% of all existing housing, and all vacant land, then raze the homes and not develop the rest of the land. Property values would sky rocket for the remaining homes! Perhaps most depressing, there is precedent for North Hills' evil:
Thomas Merrill, a Columbia University law professor, said legal precedents date to the 1880s, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the acquisition of land in Pennsylvania that is now the Gettysburg National Military Park. Examples closer to home include Hempstead's attainment of private Lido Beach clubs, said Allan Hyman, an attorney from East Meadow.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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