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Arlington Wary of Eminent Domain Amendment

by ARLnow.com | February 15, 2012 at 10:40 am | 5,368 views | 129 Comments

Arlington County has been warily monitoring the progress of a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would place additional restrictions on governmental usage of eminent domain.

The amendment proposal, which has the strong support of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, passed the state Senate and House of Delegates this week, by votes of 24-16 and 83-14 respectively. It’s expected to be put to Virginia voters as a referendum in November.

The amendment would make it harder for governments to seize private property via eminent domain. It specifies that property may only be taken for public uses, and not for the purpose of economic development. It would also provide property owners with compensation for “lost profits and lost access,” in addition to the fair market value of the property.

“This is really a goldmine for attorneys,” County Board member Jay Fisette said during yesterday afternoon’s Board meeting. Fisette cited a statistic suggesting the amendment could cost the Virginia Department of Transportation at least $40 million due to lawsuits.

The amendment could also have implications for Arlington, which recently threatened to seize a Courthouse office building via eminent domain.

“I can tell you that local governments throughout Virginia have raised numerous concerns that seem to have fallen on deaf ears,” Fisette said.

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  • Rick

    Good. This will either put a leash on Zimmerman and Fisette, or it will turn the County into a landlord.

    • http://nelsm4517@mac.com 11th Street Resident

      Remember the next election, we don’t need these two guys anymore.

    • R NOVAK

      WOW SO MANY REPLIES AND NOT ENOUGHT TIME TO READ THEM.

      HOORAY FOR PROTECTING THE PROPERTY OWNER FROM OVERBEARING ASSAULTS BY A GOVERNMENT WITH VERY DEEP POCKETS AND AN INABILITY OF THE CITIZEN TO BE FINANCIALLY ABLE TO FIGHT THIS BULLYING. THIS AFFECTS EVERYBODY IN THE COMMONWEALTH AFFORDING THEM SOME PROTECTION

  • Gary

    Finally! It will force these politicians to second guess seizing private property for the gain of themselves and their cronies.

  • ArlForester

    The Nanny State liberals on the board don’t want any of their power taken away. I am not surprised.

  • brendan

    no fan of Cuccinelli but not sure why protecting private property is such a huge threat…

    just wish that cuccinelli would place a similar emphasis on protecting public property… http://www.virginiariversdefensefund.org/

    • Burger

      –protecting private property is such a huge threat–

      You kidding me, right?

      • drax

        Is eminent domain being abused in Virginia, or in Arlington?

      • brendan

        “not sure why protecting private property is a huge threat”

        not sure what’s difficult to understand about that comment.

        • Burger

          It was only one of the basis for the Revolutionary war.

          And very simply, by right, any government action that expands the government is an attack on private property.

          • Josh S

            By right? What right?

            Also, so what? We’d need to know a lot more before we could say whether this so-called “attack on private property” is a good thing or not. (When “good thing” is defined as improving the overall societal welfare.)

          • Zoning Victim

            Taking private property at the end of a gun barrel called “eminent domain” could only be defined as a “good thing” by the left-most leaning people regardless of the circumstance. Most people do not want to live in a place where the government can decide that they want a certain office building and can just take it from the land owner if they refuse to sell it.

          • Josh S

            Arum, he said “any government action.”

            Was I supposed to read that as “eminent domain?”

          • Trank the Fank

            Josh – only if you were reading in “context.”

          • Josh S

            I guess I was also supposed to read “by right” as “by definition?”

            Look, I’m not generally part of the punctuation and spelling police on the interwebs, but at least use the words you mean to use……

          • drax

            No, any government action that expands government is most certainly not an “attack on private property.” Not even the Revolutionaries would have said something so ridiculously broad. Don’t overstate the case.

          • Burger

            I am not limiting in anyway. And I know for a fact the founding fathers would agree with me.

            From the Declaration of Independence

            – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–

            By simple definition any action by the government infringes upon a person’s private property – be it a person’s real property, personal rights, money (via taxes) or your car (sticker on your car). In other words, the governments rights are endowed by

            There is no other way to look at it. Anyone that looks at it differently views the government providing rights to the individual and, thus, can take an individual’s rights and property away arbitrarily.

            We allow the government to take those actions, even when it infringes on our property, to live in a civilized society. Thus, I made no statement as to whether the government’s actions were justified or not only that a person property is always under attack.

          • Burger

            Something cut off.

            In paragraph 3, last sentence should read…

            In other words, the governments powers are endowed by the people be giving up some of their rights.

          • drax

            Um, dude, not all government actions affect property. Some just affect life, or liberty.

          • http://theliffeyswell.blogspot.com Foggy Dew

            Like forcing women to have an unnecessary and horribly invasive medical proceedure prior to receiving a legal service? You mean that kind of expansion of government power into the most intimate aspects of our private lives?

          • drax

            Real estate must be protected at all costs! Vaginas are fair game.

          • Zoning Victim

            And don’t forget Artisphere!

          • Josh S

            +1 Credit where credit is due….

          • Brian

            When abortion is being considered, one must consider the right of the baby to live. The government has the responsibility to protect innocent life when the individual is unable and the parent is unwilling to protect that life.

          • Jackson

            Even in cases of rape, incest, right? Gotta support it all the way.

          • Brian

            Absolutely, even in the case of rape and incest. It is wrong to kill the baby for the sins of the parent.

          • drax

            But Brian, you lost that case in court a long time ago.

            (I give you credit for consistency in your positions on rape/incest though).

          • Brian

            I know what happened in court. That can be, and should be, overturned, however. The baby has a right to live.

  • CW

    “Public uses” versus “economic development”…I’m sure the attorneys will have a field day with that one.

    Example 1: Attorney for homeowners along a road to be widened argue that the road is for the purposes of increasing business traffic throughput, building the county’s economy and thus violates the law.

    Counter example: Attorney for the county argues that siezing an important building to turn into a homeless shelter is a valid “public use”.

    If the langauge is really that loose, then it doesn’t seem to mean much of anything.

    • BK

      I’m no lawyer, but I would assume the concept of “public use” has been adjudicated enough throughout history to have plenty of case law to define it.

      • Stitch_Jones

        “Case law” doesn’t necessarily make something right or wrong or else we would never argue issues in court.

        Anything that restricts the government’s ability to tell a person what to do with their rightful property is a win in my book, regardless of the precedent.

        • BK

          I agree with your second paragraph.

        • Josh S

          Cool, so you won’t mind when I build an incinerator next door? Cool.
          I don’t have a lot of money, so I might have to vent directly onto your property. I hope that’s OK.

          • Dan

            Apparently Josh S. is unfamiliar with nuisance law, which is not typically enforced by the government, but by private parties in civil cases

          • Sully

            Also, the Strawman Law.

          • Josh S

            I’m fairly certain that if you tried to build an incinerator in a residential neighborhood, you’d have a lot more than nuisance lawsuits to contend with….

            The point is, that to make sweeping statements against government control of private action is to be fairly easily lampooned as absurd.

            And to Sully – it was never intended to represent an actual scenario- it was simply a device to make my point (or go over your head…..)

          • Sully

            Never meant to represent actual scenario, strawman, whatever. Same thing you were trying to put an silly set of hypothetical facts on his argument.

            A device to make a point, via strawmanning somebody’s argument. Just deal with it.

  • GAP

    I am totally for making it harder for Arlington’s dynasty to seize any property, especially for ‘economic’ purposes – to further build the tax base. Cut something, please. Do not raise taxes any more.

    Fisettes’ argument about costing VDOT millions is bogus. Highways are not for economic development, (WAL-MARTs and such); it’s for commuters and CONSTITUENTS.

    I really dislike this arrogant attitude of our ‘elected’ officials.

    • Bluemonter

      So, when VDOTundertakes construction to the street in front of a business and that business suffers a drop in revenue. Should VDOT pay to compensate the owner?

      A side point, highways are not for economic development? Everything you buy is shipped in some way or another along the supply chain. Without a functioning transportation system there is no commerce.

      • Ren

        This discussion is kind of fun…

        1.) No, VDOT shouldn’t pay the owner, because the street is public property. Seizing private property to make it public is a different fact pattern to begin with and actually does involve payment to the owner (just not what the free market bears…kind of like A-Town property assessments) – so the comparison is unapt.

        2.) Highway expansion is rocky ground to support a proposition that governments should be granted broader eminent domain powers, especially from a liberal’s perspective – as the history of takings to build or expand highways is full of history about building in typically core ‘progressive’ constituencies: poor or minority neighborhoods. The only reason it’s not a bigger problem is that most highway expansion occurs from/to rural areas affecting fewer landowners.

    • Burger

      It is much easier for Fisette to follow along with President Obama’s argument style by throwing out strawmen and red herrings that to debate on the substance of the argument.

      • Kool Aid Drinker

        Ooooohh . . . no you di-INT!!!

    • drax

      Unless Arlington is taking property and then giving/selling it back to a private party, taking property for public use would REDUCE the tax base, genius.

      • BK

        What if they were taking it for a new streetcar ROW that would increase property values?

    • Josh S

      “highways are not for economic development”

      Huh?

      Transportation networks exist almost entirely for economic development purposes. And you contrast economic development with commuting? What? Where are you commuting to? A JOB. Which perhaps wouldn’t exist if you couldn’t commute to it.

      Oy.

    • http://nelsm4517@mac.com 11th Street Resident

      GAP,

      Well said. I also dislike the arrogant attitude of our elected officials. Let’s remember this when we vote next time.

      • Saul

        +1!

  • Grandstander

    IANAL but this seems like a blatant violation of Kelo v. City of New London. Methinks the Cooch is picking a fight…

    • Josh S

      New London doesn’t say you HAVE to allow eminent domain for economic development reasons. It just said that, given the facts and law in that case, it wasn’t unconsitutional.

      In fact, the case has prompted just this kind of reaction from states and localities.

    • drax

      You don’t understand Kelo, Grandstander. It said the states had the power to use eminent domain for economic development. It doesn’t stop a state from not using that power, as this amendment would do. This doesn’t violate Kelo, it fixes it (in Va. at least).

  • South Awwwlington

    I really don’t like Cuccinelli but I can’t see why any property owner would not support this legislation.

    As of late I am becoming increasingly concerned over the motives of this board.

    Of course this is the same County in which 1/3 of student population receives free or reduced lunches yet we continue to build more affordable housing. Perhaps we’re aiming for a goal of 50% of all school aged children in the program?

    • drax

      A property owner might oppose this because it requires tax funds to pay for more than the fair market value of seized property.

      • Zoning Victim

        A fair statement, but I think they should have to pay more. If the government wants a particular piece of land so badly, then they are the ones placing an unusual demand on the property, and we all know how supply and demand affect prices. Also, municipalities have historically underrepresented fair market value in eminent domain cases, and there is a significant expense associated with having to purchase another property that goes over and above the purchase price.

        • South Awwwlington

          The County (or an municipal, state, federal government) should overcompensate the owner – to a certain extent.

          Were not discussing condemned land or improvements. If anyone, private or public, wants a parcel of land that is not currently active in sale, the burden is on them to pry the current owner away.

          Maybe this will make government and agencies think twice before trying to gobble up private land for public projects which in turn buy votes and further the career politicians that sit on this board.

      • Suburban Not Urban

        Look – what this often boils down to is – do you want the same shmucks that make up the numbers(and the land/house split), and the year to year changes that you see on your assessment – deciding how much you get paid when they take your house. And this is not completely abstract – because I know people whose homes in Huntington were taken for the work at the Wilson bridge.

  • John Fontain

    I don’t understand why Fisette would be so opposed to constituents deciding this for themselves through the referendum.

    • Connie

      Because they think they know what is best for everybody else.

    • Chuck

      Because he is a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT that “knows what is best for us”.

  • Anon

    Virginia already has one of the strictest eminent domain laws in the country and already only allows seizure for public use and not economic development.

    http://law.justia.com/codes/virginia/2010/title-1/chapter-2-1/1-219-1/

    What is this amendment adding??

    • Zoning Victim

      It would be adding compensation for lost profits and lost access and making it part of our Constitution, not just a law. This is much stronger than a simple piece of legislation, which can be overturned without the consent of the people.

      • Josh S

        Careful there, cowboy. You don’t want to start arguing that laws are passed without the consent of the people. You’ll end up painting yourself into a corner.

        Perhaps what you meant was that laws can be overturned without a direct consultation of the electorate.

      • drax

        I think you have democracy mixed up, ZV.

      • Zoning Victim

        I can see where both of you would feel that way, but I stand by my statement that laws are sometimes changed without the consent of the people (most often without their knowledge). I don’t subscribe to the notion that everything our representatives do is with out consent because our representatives are democratically and will provide illustration.

        I don’t personally know anybody who thinks it’s okay that there are special tax breaks for big oil regardless of their political affiliation (or that there are so many special tax breaks at all), but there is still legislation in place granting them. I find that law to be a law passed without the consent of the people. It was mostly because they had no knowledge of the fact that this law was in a bill until long after it was passed, but sneakiness doesn’t change the fact that it was done without the general public’s consent.

        Likewise, if the Republicans in the General Assembly have their way and force women to go through an invasive ultrasound procedure before exercising her freedom of choice, I believe they will be doing so without the consent of the majority of people. Though most of the people polled were for the legislation when it was originally proposed, that poll was before Englin blew the lid off of the fact that the bill as written will require penetrative ultrasound even for non-invasive procedures. I think the Republicans will pay dearly for this slight of hand in the next election; however, for now, they have the power to pass this if they can get the entire party on board despite the fact that most people would probably be against it if they knew the facts about the law.

        I do realize that both of these issues are caused by the Republican party and chose them for that very reason.

  • Rob Geeeee

    This is why the amendment is a good thing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London

    • Anon

      Uh yea, under current VA law you can’t take land to build a factory.

    • drax

      Agreed. But the amendment goes too far by requiring compensation for lost profits, etc. The market value of property reflects profit potential already. You shouldn’t get compensated for something you might get in the future, especially when you have cash to go buy new property that also has profit potential.

      • John Fontain

        What about in situations where your property has a certain zoning classification that isn’t as valuable as the class that the county changes it to upon seizure?

        • drax

          Really? Now you think you should be paid for future government actions?

          The market value should reflect that possibility that property might be upzoned in the future. The government shouldn’t pay any more than a private buyer would for that possibility.

          • John Fontain

            “The market value should reflect that possibility that property might be upzoned in the future.”

            I agree, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works right now. If you were domained out of a residential zoned parcel that could be rezoned commercial (if the government approved the request), you’d only be compensated for the value as currently zoned. That is exactly the problem this is trying to address. Likewise, an owner of a property may receive returns from both rental income and long term price appreciation. If you present value those two sources of value, the NPV will exceed the current domain payout.

          • BK

            Also, try selling a house and asking 5 times the local market by telling everyone that your land might be upzoned for mixed use development with a froyo shop in on the ground floor.

            There is no way hypothetical future zoning opportunities are factored into sales price. People need to just stop saying that because they look like fools.

      • Dan

        The market value of property not terribly relevant when the seller is not willing to sell. Clearly the fact that they are not selling for the market value is an indication that they value the property more than the market value. That’s part of what ownership means – the ability to decide whether or not to sell the property. If that decision is circumvented through force by eminent domain, the property owner should be made whole.

  • Danville Mayor

    Why doesn’t Arlington County use eminent domain to get the residents of Arlington “who pay taxes” a nice public golf course.

    We have that nice “Washington Golf and County Club” sitting up in north Arlington. Why not grab that via eminent domain, and then I would have a course I could play in Arlington.

    This way, with all the taxes Arlington collects from me – I would at least get something out of the deal. And not have to drive out to Fairfax or farther west or south.

    And the swim folks would like it – because it would come with a pool and more tennis courts. This is a win win for everyone.

    • DarkHeart

      Pohick and Lorton are not all that inconvenient to reach from Arlington. Hains Point is a pretty decent track these days as well.

      • Richard Cranium

        Pretty decent track? I suppose . . . if you’re a greyhound.

    • Chuck

      I think everyone is missing Danville Mayor’s point. Where would ED stop? Most residents do not realize that most of Arlington’s “established” neighborhoods are classified by the County as “blighted”. This includes most of the single family homes in Arlington; especially the ones that are 50+ years or older. I believe that the minimum requirements are 4 bedrooms, 2+ baths and double garages. This opens a lot of areas up for “re-development” which of course raises the tax base.

  • charlie

    people people people people.

    this constitutional amendment is not needed. eminent domain in our fine commonwealth is completely different than liberal new england.

    we are putting a constitional amendment in place for something that doesn’t exist.

    everyone with a bean in their head (developers, local government, property owners, state agencies) is opposed to this.

    • BK

      Well then we can put it on the ballot and let the parties run their campaigns. That will be the interesting part. How do the local governments lobby/campaign against this? Will they hire media consultants to run fancy ad campaigns? Oh, this will be a lot of fun.

  • Hattie McDaniel

    How often does Arlington county use eminent domain anyway?

    • Paco Wellington III

      Good question. Other than the $39 million recently proposed homeless shelter where the County looked at only a single property and nothing else, when has the County used eminent domain?

    • Zoning Proponent

      I don’t know, but to hear some of those above tell it, “Zimmerman” and “Fisette” are working overtime taking folks property left and right.

      • Josh S

        Oooo, I *love* your moniker. Tweaks right where the tweaks are needed……

  • Chris Slatt

    It’s already illegal to seize property for private gain in Virginia. The real meat of this amendment (and what most folks are concerned about) is the “lost profits” and “lost access” provision of the “just compensation” section.

    Need to seize a gas station to widen a road? Now in addition to paying the amount that the property is worth, we also need to compensate them somehow for profit they might have made in the future at that gas station?

    FOR REFERENCE:
    The Virginia Constitution currently says:

    …the General Assembly shall not pass any law…whereby private property shall be taken or damaged for public uses, without just compensation, the term ‘public uses’ to be defined by the General Assembly;”

    The amendment switches it to:

    “…the General Assembly shall pass no law whereby private property, the right to which is fundamental, shall be damaged or taken except for public use. No private property shall be damaged or taken for public use without just compensation to the owner thereof. No more private property may be taken than necessary to achieve the stated public use. Just compensation shall be no less than the value of the property taken, lost profits and lost access, and damages to the residue caused by the taking. The terms ‘lost profits’ and ‘lost access’ are to be defined by the General Assembly. A public service company, public service corporation, or railroad exercises the power of eminent domain for public use when such exercise is for the authorized provision of utility, common carrier, or railroad services. In all other cases, a taking or damaging of private property is not for public use if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development, except for the elimination of a public nuisance existing on the property. The condemnor bears the burden of proving that the use is public, without a presumption that it is.”

    • Josh S

      +1

      As usual, your comments are very helpful in clarifying the issue and highlighting what actually is going on.

    • BK

      Very common in the private sector. If Company A makes a mistake that deprives their client or a subcontractor of a revenue stream for a period of time while the mistake is cleared up, they get a claim for denial of future revenue.

      Likewise, if a gas station gets booted and has to go somewhere else, they should get compensation for the lost revenue during the relocation. Just giving them fair value for their property usually undercompensates them for the real hardship caused by the taking.

      • drax

        If you want to give them compensation for lost revenue during a move, that’s one thing. Giving them lost revenue for the profits they lose in perpetuity is different. The amendment doesn’t make it clear which one.

        • Zoning Victim

          It makes it clear that the General Assembly will decide what it means to lose profits or access, so it purposely doesn’t define what “lost profits” or “lost access” means. It’s probably a good thing that those aren’t defined as part of the amendment as those definitions may change over time.

          • bemused bystander

            It’s a good thing only if you trust the General Assembly. On the evidence of this year’s performance, I for one don’t.

          • drax

            Yeah, but I would rather not have the General Assembly doing that. If we need a Constitutional Amendment for this, why leave the rest to the GA?

          • Zoning Victim

            Because of the unintended consequences that seem to come along with all laws and the ever changing landscape of our lives. What is a lost profit or access now may not be in the future when cars no longer run on oil and urban sprawl is no longer a problem (hey, I guy can dream, can’t he?), so allowing the GA to decide what will or won’t be lost profit/access allows more flexibility in the future without having to go back through the constitutional process, which is much slower.

          • Saul

            I agree. The current wording says the general assembly decides what “public uses” is already. I wonder if people had a problem with that too? Guessing not.

  • Charles

    “Arlington” may be wary but Arlington Citizens are delighted! This really shows how out-of-touch the County Government is. Maybe we need to elect someone besides Fisette-?

    • Plunkitt

      Get rid of the “maybe” and add the rest of the names of the current incumbents……..

    • JohnB

      Without even examining the details, arlington citizens will vote 70% against this simply because it’s strongly supported by the Attorney General.

    • Josh S

      I forgot to include in my list yesterday of offenses deserving of automatic ban from the forum any reference to “the county government doesn’t represent the will of the people and so we should boot them out” or similar.

      Tired.
      Cliched.
      And,really, in the forums, completely useless. Elections do not take place here in the forums. “Maybe we need to elect someone besides Fisette.” What is this, Spanky’s backyard?

  • roquer

    OUTSTANDING!!! Once again the State has to pass a special law to put the stomp on the Arlington Co. Board’s attempts to tromp the rights of the citizens and businesses. Thank you Governor McDonnell, the Legislature and Att’y Gen.Cuccennelli!!

    • bemused bystander

      Where’s the evidence that anything in Arlington had anything to do with this? It’s more likely to be a reflexive right-wing pro-corporate initiative unblemished by any relation to actual Virginia experience.

      • Josh S

        It is amazing the leaps that some people can make from one scrap of barely understood knowledge to another scrap of half-formed opinion.

        • BK

          Yeah, the bit about this being a “pro-corporate initiative” is so wrong it is comical.

    • drax

      Give an example of these attempts by the county board, roquer.

      • Trank the Fank

        H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S

        S-H-E-L-T-E-R.

  • Garden City

    This is totally unnecessary. Everything that it is claimed to protect us from is already forbidden by statute. All this is is a windfall for lawyers who will make $ millions suing government entities for mythical future profits. And of course, the defense will be borne by the taxpayers, who will see their return on their tax dollars reduced by litigation.

    • Stitch_Jones

      Well then I suppose the local governments should not try to take citizens’ property by the force of government decree. I would rather pay the lawyers and burden the taxpayers than force rightful owners of property to be knuckled under by fellow citizens.

      I doubt you would feel it unnecessary if it was your house or business and livelihood.

      • Ren

        Yes, not to mention that Fisette’s invocation of the ‘lawyer goldmine’ is intellectually and politically spurious…

        Intellectually: Lawyers don’t come with eminent domain, by inference, as if there was a statute requiring a lawsuit to stay eminent domain each time a government entity invokes the power (due process requirements notwithstanding, which are part of the government-based takings process itself). Funny that no one, including Jay, points out that plaintiffs/defendants – who *must* sue – choose to hire said lawyers.

        Politically: Surely, Fisette is not implying that Fortune 500 corporate attorneys, midtown NY white-shoe M&A shops or K Street lobbying firms will be in the midst of these disputes, vacuuming up all these golden crumbs. This is small litigant, class action, Plaintiffs’ Bar territory, AKA trial lawyers – a primary donor group for Democrats, the party to which he and all ACB members belong. He should be sending Cuccinelli a thank you note!

  • charlie

    Find me an example of Arlington using eminent domain.

    • J

      Look at the link in the article.

    • Zoning Victim

      Eminent domain and the threat of eminent domain are both used by Arlington County.

      • drax

        Of course ED is used by the county – it’s whether it is abusing it in a way that requires this amendment that is the right question.

    • charlie

      a threat? seriously?
      someone who owns a building that valuable can stick their nose out to a threat by Arlington County.

      again, the County has not used eminent domain.

      • Zoning Victim

        And lose money during the fight. Using the threat of eminent domain is using eminent domain, for if the law never existed or constrained Arlington from taking an office building for a homeless shelter or a gas station for public housing, the county couldn’t coerce people into selling property they don’t want to part with.

        Saying that threatening someone with eminent domain during a negotiation isn’t “using” eminent domain because it always works and you never have to actually file for eminent domain is like saying that brandishing a gun to get someone to do something they don’t want to do isn’t “using” a gun because because everybody complied with your orders so you didn’t fire a shot.

        • charlie

          well ok, i’ll buy that argument.
          but this bill still won’t help then.

  • J

    Arlington is going to use eminent domain on 2020 14th Street IF their offer to purchase the building is not accepted.

  • BoredHouseWife

    good

  • R. Griffon

    Excellent. Anything that makes it more difficult for government to take private property against the owner’s will and NOT for public use has to be a good thing.

    2 Questions though:

    1.) How do they decide how much to compensate someone for future profits and/or loss of access? Seems to me that anything they come up with would be pretty arbitrary.

    2.) Many on this board are concerned (pro or con) about the pending offices & homeless shelter in Courthouse. Does anyone know for sure whether a site for public servants and servcies is considered “public use” under this law? Or is that still TBD by the courts?

    • Barrister

      Excellent questions ! Much oportunity in them for litigation !

  • Mary

    Agree with the first commenter. It’s troubling to Arlington why? Because they are really that concerned about VDOT’s costs? Or because they want to keep the right to seize property right and left? Ridiculous.

    • SouthPikeGuy

      They don’t give a hoot about VDOT. It’s just Fissette going straight for the most idiotic argument he could think of, the “shoot yourself in your own foot” one. As has been shown elsewhere in this thread, his comment is completely misinformed or purposely misleading in a malicious harpy fashion.

  • JJ Rouseau

    This is probably a bit beyond the average arlnow poster, but private property rights don’t exist without the state. That is, you only have the right to your land because the state has a law that says that says it is yours. So I find the whole teabagger private property thing a little odd in that you need the state to have private property.

    Economically, the fair market value of a property ought to already include future profits. That is, a share of Microsoft is both a claim to the assets of the company and a right to future dividends. I find this proposed change puzzling.

    • dk

      Puzzling? That is an understatement, LOL.

  • Arl1

    Arlington wants to knock down its homeless shelter and sell the land to a developer. So they need a new place for the homeless. Solution: threaten eminent domain on an existing office building and bully them into selling. THIS is why Va needs the amendment.

    • OldTimer

      Make the Artisphere the Homelessphere. Closer to blue and orange lines.

  • Car-Free-Diet

    Of course Arlington County’s Board is concerned about the State of Virginia placing limits on it’s power to take private property away from its owners. Like all liberals/progressives, Arlington Government believes the public serves it rather than the other way around. The only income you get to income is the income the government decides it doesn’t need. The real estate you get to keep is the real estate the government decides it doesn’t need.

    Fisette’s professed concern for Virginia’s Department of Transportation is especially rich in light or Arlington’s adamance in preventing the widening of 66 even though failing to do so creates a bottleneck for commuters outside of Arlington.

  • TMP

    The Arlington County Board really should go back to high school civics and learn John Locke’s three natural rights:

    Life: everyone is entitled to live once they are created.
    Liberty: everyone is entitled to do anything they want to so long as it doesn’t conflict with the first right.
    Estate: everyone is entitled to own all they create or gain through gift or trade so long as it doesn’t conflict with the first two rights.

    The social contract between the government and the people is that the government makes laws to protect these natural rights.

    • BK

      That does not jive well with Arlington’s activist government agenda.

    • ArlRes

      So apparently you exclude homeless people from the “entitled to live” right listed above. Building a shelter to get those most in need and in danger of dying on the streets, preserving their right to life, would seem to follow the rights listed above. Estate would take a back seat to the first right, since you’re preserving the homeless person’s right to life by providing basic medical attention, food and shelter.

      • Saul

        The County can do that for the homeless without ED’ing the building. It’s called a lease.

  • CourthouseDude

    To piggy-back on what Saul said, noone in their right mind is against the homeless or providing them shelter from the streets. It’s just provide the housing where it’s not in the most desirable and expensive part of the county where other people’s biggest investment (their homes) is not screwed around with. Come on now really! The people on here making it a pro homeless shelter vs. cold hearted NIMBY’s are completely missing the point.

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