Earlier this year, I asked: “Has the Supreme Court Killed Capitalism?” At the time, I thought my tone might have been a bit too emotional. Reading today’s issue of Newsday suggests I wasn’t. The highly affluent Village of North Hills on Long Island is considering seizing the ritzy and private Deepdale Country Club to convert it to a municipal golf course. According to Newsday: “North Hills Mayor Marvin Natiss said the village has not yet decided to pursue the condemnation, but instead it is only gathering information, including appraisals and environmental impact statements, so it can make an informed decision. Natiss said condemning Deepdale would be lawful: “I consider a village golf course and recreational facility for residents a public use.” As long as the seizure of private property is part of a development plan, nothing in Kelo or other Supreme Court decisions would prevent this blatant exercise in municipal socialism. To add insult to injury, the country club claims the village is using money extracted for infrastructure improvements from private developers on another project to fund the taking of the country club!
Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.