A city wants to force a family to sell its land because officials say they need it for a water reclamation project. Family members spend thousands in attorney’s fees fighting the city and say the battle contributed to the death of their patriarch, who was battling prostate cancer. Eleven years pass and the city does nothing with the land. The family tries to buy it back, but the city decides to sell it to a developer instead. Why? The family didn’t offer enough money. The mayor even accused the family of not playing fair:
City officials [in Escondido, California] have ended dealings with a family that was trying to buy back land it was forced to sell to the city 11 years ago, and plan to sell it to a developer next week instead. Negotiations between the Redding family and the city ended yesterday after City Attorney Jeffrey Epp sent Jane Redding a letter at her home in Nebraska. “The primary difference between the city’s offer to you and your counteroffer is the fact you are refusing to return the city’s money with any interest earnings whatsoever,” Epp wrote in the letter, dated March 16.
By a vote of 105-8 the [South Carolina] House passed the comprehensive property rights bill H. 4503. The bill restricts the ability of local governments to delegate their eminent domain powers to private developers, tightens up the definition of “public use,” restricts the number of government agencies that can have eminent domain powers and provides just compensation for regulatory takings.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.