A recent Arizona Republic article reports "Peoria [has] an eminent-domain policy, apparently unique in Arizona, to make sure the city takes land only for the public good, not to help out developers." In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London that permitted the taking of private property for private use, Peoria's policy might be of particular interest to city policymakers looking to provide greater protection for their residents.
However, an examination of the Peoria City Council policy shows it provides little real protection for Peoria residents. In fact, the policy goes out of its way to outline condemnation procedures for "third party development projects" the very sort of eminent domain abuse in question in the recent Supreme Court case.
A just policy would forbid, not direct, the use of eminent domain to take property from one private owner for the benefit of another private owner.
Cities seeking to protect residents' property rights can and should enact statutes that explicitly forbid city authorities from unjustly forcing one private property owner to relinquish their property to another.
Unfortunately, Peoria's policy falls short.
- Arizona Republic: "Private property ruling stirs concerns"
-Peoria City Council Policy on Real Property Acquisition and Eminent Domain
-ARS 12-1111: Purposes for which eminent domain may be exercised
-Study: Alternatives to Eminent Domain