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Imminent Domain

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Staff Opinion

Gov. Rick Perry, despite the misinformation circulating Texas, did not sign into law any sweeping eminent domain protections. He did, however, sign a state House resolution supporting the need for the voters to decide a Constitutional amendment on the subject.

The entire New London, Conn. U.S. Supreme Court case spurred this flurry of eminent domain-protection legislation trend.

The New London City Council wrongly determined that because a private economic developer would create jobs and in turn, produce sales taxes to benefit the community, that was in line with the "takings" clause - in essence, the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court basically said it was okay for cities to hand over people’s property and homes to benefit private developers.

The sheer outrage over that loss of monumental Constitutional tradition that said only people who receive just compensation for their land for public uses such as roads, streets, water lines, etc. prompted all the states to pass eminent domain laws to protect people from a New London-type city council.

Every single eminent domain law proposed in Texas has been destroyed by non-principled Republicans and moderate to liberal Democrats since the Kelo v. New London decision.

However, should any meaningful legislation finally break through the 150-member state House or the 31-member state Senate, the citizens living in the direct path of the 12-lane Loop 9 toll road won’t be included.

That’s because state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, sponsored an amendment a legislative session ago that sought to include half a dozen transportation projects on an "immunity" list — basically, Loop 9’s status as a project of the Trans-Texas Corridor was not to be touched by any toll road moratorium bill legislation that sought to protect individuals or landowners.

When the people in Glenn Heights, Ovilla, Oak Leaf, Cedar Hill, DeSoto and Lancaster find out about this West amendment, there could be civil unrest.

Landowners in the Loop 9 path face an August deadline of convincing local city councils and state transportation officials to change course and bypass subdivisions, homes, properties and businesses.

In Cedar Hill, housing prices started falling once word that mainly residential zoned areas were changed to light industrial designations because of the Loop 9 project.

Amy Self, a recent transplant to Glenn Heights, is preparing to sue a real estate company because they failed to disclose that her new house sits in one of those 12 lanes of soon-to-be oncoming traffic. If we do not act now, the government will seize property, and it will be imminent. We must fight this and we must fight for the Constitution before it’s too late.


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