The Tempe City Council has approved condemnation of private businesses to make way for a new shopping center. The move violates a key provision of the Arizona Constitution that prohibits taking property from one private owner and turning it over to another private owner. The City's move is likely to face several court challenges.
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 without violating property owners' rights.