Friday, October 26, 2007

Biltmore Lake residents' lawsuit fights annexation by Asheville

From the Asheville Citizen-Times: Biltmore Lake residents have filed a lawsuit against the city of Asheville claiming it didn’t follow state law in seeking to annex the upscale subdivision. more...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Text of Onslow County resolution supporting property rights

We recently posted a link to this article from the Jacksonville Daily News: Onslow County Commissioners vote to support limits on use of eminent domain.

The full text of the resolution can be viewed here.

Missouri: Study Points to Continuing Eminent Domain Abuses

According to this article, studies have shown that legislation passed last year in Missouri has failed to address eminent domain abuse. According to the article, "The study concludes eminent domain abuse has had a negative impact on local communities, adding the abuses will only worsen until the Legislature passes a constitutional amendment strengthening property rights in Missouri."

Sounds like Missouri and North Carolina have something in common: each of our legislatures failed to pass a constitutional amendment to give property owners the protection they deserve, instead settling for watered-down legislation that doesn't cut the mustard.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Editorial from San Antonio: Approve proposal on eminent domain

San Antonio Express-News

As Texas continues to grow, the need for public land for infrastructure and projects will increase. With it, the use of eminent domain — the forced buying of private land for a public use — will also increase.

Proposition 7 would amend the Texas Constitution to allow a "taking entity" to offer land acquired through eminent domain back to the owner at the original sales price under certain conditions. more...

Onslow County Commissioners vote to support limits on use of eminent domain

From The Jacksonville Daily News: The Onslow County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Monday in favor of North Carolina joining an ever-increasing number of states that have enacted legislation prohibiting condemnation of private property for economic development.

In September, the board unanimously voted in support of the North Carolina General Assembly obtaining a constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of eminent domain - the right of a government to take private property for public benefit - for commercial use. more...

Charleston, WV: Officials say they will consider using eminent domain to expand Civic Center

From The Charleston Daily Mail: Officials say they will consider using eminent domain to expand Civic Center

Stanly County: Norwood looks at annexation during closed session

From The Stanly News & Free Press: Norwood looks at annexation during closed session

Monday, October 15, 2007

Center for Local Innovation's City/County Issue guide focuses on freedom

RALEIGH – Local governments can help their communities prosper by holding the line on taxes and fees, minimizing regulation, and avoiding the use of force against private property owners. Those are some key recommendations in the Center for Local Innovation’s new City and County Issue Guide 2007.

The guide arrives as some N.C. counties consider raising sales taxes or imposing a new land-transfer tax. “The common thread in these recommendations is freedom,” said CLI Director Chad Adams. “By increasing individual freedom, local governments can foster prosperity for all North Carolinians.”

The pocket-sized Issue Guide addresses more than a dozen topics common to North Carolina local governments. It covers services governments provide, the way they raise money, and the attention they pay to private property rights. John Locke Foundation researchers analyze each topic and offer recommendations.

For example, counties and municipalities do not need new ways to raise taxes, said Joseph Coletti, JLF Fiscal Policy Analyst. “North Carolina’s local governments all have two ways to tax their citizens: property taxes and sales taxes,” Coletti said. “Some have additional taxes, and they often charge separate fees for services such as water and sewer and solid waste removal. Local government already costs an average of $1,432 per person in North Carolina.”

Now many local governments want more tax options, Coletti said. ”Local governments have misused the money they now have,” he said. “In Wilmington, the city council has set aside money for a convention center while the sewer system leaks. Charlotte built a convention center and a short section of light rail instead of expanding road capacity.”

The Issue Guide warns local government against chasing the goal of “economic development” through wasteful convention centers, stadiums, and other non-essential projects. “Recently many North Carolina cities and counties have ignored the distinction between the public and private sector by funding outright or subsidizing functions that are inherently private,” said Dr. Michael Sanera, JLF Research Director and Local Government Analyst. ”City officials have poured millions of taxpayer dollars into nonessential city activities while essential services such as police, fire, and roads suffer.”

Some Issue Guide recommendations are simple. For instance, municipalities should avoid all forced annexation, said Daren Bakst, JLF Legal and Regulatory Policy Analyst.

“Municipalities use forced annexation as a financial bailout,” Bakst said. “Money from unincorporated areas boosts the municipal tax base. If an individual knows that he can always steal money from his neighbor in case of financial trouble, he will take inappropriate risks and make poor decisions. He can steal his way out of mistakes. The same is true for municipalities that use forced annexation.”

The new guide serves as a companion piece to CLI’s annual By The Numbers report, which ranks cities and counties by local government spending levels. “This new guide places the numbers in context,” Adams said. “Citizens concerned about local government spending can find ideas for improvement in the Issue Guide. Local leaders can also use the guide to help them avoid taking ever-larger chunks of our paychecks each year.”

The Center for Local Innovation’s “City and County Issue Guide 2007” is available at the JLF web site. For more information, please contact Adams at (919) 828-3876 or To arrange an interview, contact Mitch Kokai at (919) 306-8736 or

Excellent article on eminent domain and individual rights

This is a good column by George Mantor

Greensboro holding annexation meeting

From the City of Greensboro's Web Site:

As the City of Greensboro begins the annexation process, we know you have many questions about what annexation will mean to you. We invite you to browse this website to find answers to your questions.

The links on the left will take you to information about specific services, as well as general information about the City of Greensboro. You can also call (336) 373-CITY (2489) to speak with a City Services Representative who can answer your questions.

A public informational meeting is set for Thursday, October 25 at 7 pm in Grimsley High School Auditorium.
Parking is available off Campus Drive.
* If you need an interpreter or any other auxiliary aid or service, please contact Donna Gray at 336-373-2723.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lexington officials hear from residents about annexation

From the Winston-Salem Journal: More than 60 people came to a meeting of the Lexington City Council last night with a simple message - they don’t want to be annexed into the city. more...

US Landowners Challenge Canadian Company's Right to Eminent Domain

Canadian company wants to use eminent domain to build an 1,830-mile pipeline through the US from Canada, to Oklahoma... more...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mooneyham: Railroad is still bullying

Column by Scott Mooneyham of the Capitol Press Association: Railroad is still bullying

Lexington: Annexation opponents air their grievances

From The Lexington Dispatch: A standing room only crowd made up of upset homeowners voiced their anti-annexation arguments to the city council at Lexington City Hall on Monday night. more...

Elizabeth City: Most council candidates back eminent domain

From The Daily Advance: A majority of candidates for City Council believe the city should use eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire land for the $10.4 million aviation research and commerce park project.

“Yes, I think it is the greatest thing in our area,” said 1st Ward Councilwoman Betty Meggs, who is seeking a second term. “We have to think of what’s best for everyone.”

At issue is a privately owned 100-foot-wide parcel of farmland the city is trying to acquire for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Regional Airport Authority’s planned aviation park, estimated to create 500 jobs and generate $150 million for the local economy. The landowner, the Hall family, has refused to sell, and City Manager Rich Olson says he would use eminent domain to acquire the property if necessary. more...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lexington Annexation: City growth vs. property owner rights

From the Lexington Daily Dispatch: A group of annexation opponents is set to bring a petition of more than 1,000 names of like-minded residents to the Lexington City Council meeting Monday, protesting the city’s consideration to annex 11 areas around the city. more...

Builders Lose N.J. Eminent Domain Fight

From Builders were dealt a blow this week when the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to hear a case in which New Jersey builder MiPro Homes claimed the township of Mt. Laurel, N.J., unlawfully seized a 16-acre parcel that was under site development and had been legally zoned and approved for construction. more...

Pasquotank Board postpones letter to protest eminent domain

From The Daily Advance: Pasquotank’s Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to postpone adopting a resolution and letter that protest “any eminent domain takeover” by the city of land for its $10.4 million aviation park project. more...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Annexation still affects local races in Fayetteville

NEWS14: Citizens who were annexed into the city of Fayetteville in 2005 will have the chance to vote for their representatives next week.

Both District 6 and 8 comprise residents who were brought into the city two years ago, although the majority live in District 8, which is home to incumbent Juanita Gonzalez. Gonzalez is finishing her third term on the city council and now faces opposition from two political newcomers: Ted Mohn and Charles Ragan who both became city residents after the annexation. more...

Bakst: Another government land-grab

From Carolina Journal: Wake County's Open Space Bond

Op/ed in N&O: Another government land-grab

From NoLandGrab: City Planner Calls Eminent Domain Condemnees "Hostages"

City Planner Calls Eminent Domain Condemnees "Hostages"

Zell Miller Quote on Property Ownership

"The opportunity to own what we're willing to work for is a pillar of our democracy. It is so ingrained in our American experience that we can hardly imagine otherwise. But rest assured there are people in this world who can only dream of owning anything. At the heart of communism was the notion that the state owned everything the people produced. The government managed production, owned the yield, and dispersed it with the grand kind of wisdom that led to the erection of the Berlin Wall. The wall is now a gravel pile, and so is the thinking that constructed it."
- Former U.S. Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) in his book, "A Deficit of Decency"

Friday, October 05, 2007

Commentary: Minority areas hit hardest by eminent domain

Commentary by Clarence Page, published in The Chicago Tribune:

A father and son who operate a nonprofit boxing gym for kids in suburban San Diego are fighting their town for the right to stay where they are. Ultimately, their battle to hold onto their property could help decide your right to hold onto yours. more...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mt. Airy candidates debate annexation

The Mount Airy News reports that annexation was among the issues recently debated by municipal candidates. From the Oct. 3 article:

The candidates also differed on annexation, which has been a controversial issue due to residents recently being forced into the city limits.

Cochran pointed out that only four states, including North Carolina, now allow forced annexation. She mentioned one case in which a local woman is having to rely on subsidized government housing because she can't afford the higher taxes and utility hookups resulting from annexation of her home. “I am not in favor of forced annexation,” Cochran said.

One of Cochran's opponents, Sickmiller, took a similar position. “There are a lot of things that are legal to do,” she said, but that doesn't mean they have to be done. She also wonders whether the tax money generated from annexed communities adequately offsets the related expenses. “I don't believe in forced annexation if it's only for the money.”

Said Brown: “I think there should be many independent studies done before you annex an area.” Saying numerous factors should be considered, he added, “I am not in favor of off-the-wall annexation at any time.” He thinks major annexations should be studied at least 10 years before being approved, although he said individual property owners who are willing to pay for city services should be allowed to join the municipality. “It doesn't have to be hundreds of people.”

While he said it was not fair for non-city residents to use Mount Airy services without paying extra, Livengood said he understands why some people want to live outside the municipality, possibly because of quieter neighborhoods or lower taxes.

Lowry said that annexation should be undertaken on a case-by-case basis, and only where economically feasible. “We're about annexed out,” he said.

“The greatest need we have in Mount Airy is fiscal management,” he said. “We are on the verge of a fiscal train wreck.”

Harris was the only candidate who supports an aggressive annexation approach, saying that cities have to offer a certain population to be considering by companies wanting to locate facilities to a community. Otherwise, the city will be passed over, the incumbent said.

SPIN Cycle: What’s up with the North Carolina Railroad?

From today's SPIN Cycle newsletter (published by NC SPIN):

What’s up with the North Carolina Railroad?
That’s a question many are asking after the state-owned railroad came trying to collect rent on businesses that are located close to their rail lines. According to NC RR officials, 150 years of surveying errors and lack of oversight have prevented them from collecting rent on lands they legally own and within their 200-foot right of way.

They say they have signed more than 230 leases for their lands and that another 120 or so are yet to be negotiated. Affected small business owners are understandably upset when a representative of the NC RR walks in and claims they owe rent to the state rail line.

Look for court cases and legislative action regarding these collection efforts.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blogger: How do you reconcile urban planning and private property rights?

We stumbled across this blog entry earlier today: How do you reconcile urban planning and private property rights?

It is an excellent read.

Stanly County: Norwood annexation troubling community

Norwood annexation troubling community

Eminent Domain Could Arise In Sugar Creek, MO

Sugar Creek may be the battleground for another fight involving eminent domain.Some residents near Sterling and Smart avenues said they are being forced out of their homes by City Hall in favor of developers. more...

Apex Votes to Control 9,000 Acres Next Door

From Apex Votes to Control 9,000 Acres Next Door