Prettier Projects Don't Trump Rights

Posted on January 06, 2005
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The Tempe City Council will vote tonight on whether to condemn 214 acres of private property so it can be turned over to a private developer to build a mega shopping center. That may be a worthy project for the prime real estate, but Article 2, Section 17 of the Arizona State Constitution prohibits private property from being taken for private use.


In 2003, the Arizona Court of Appeals struck down a similar private property grab in Bailey v. Myers, ruling that the City of Mesa could not condemn a family brake shop business and hand the property over to another private businessman.


In an op-ed last July, I reviewed the Tempe case and several alternatives to eminent domain that have been successful in cities such as Seattle. With such options available, Tempe could get its shopping center, and property owners' rights would still be intact.

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