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Posted: 1/11/2006 8:23:54 AM EDT
http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/01/11/eminent.domain.ap/index.html

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Joy and Carl Gamble say they just want to retire peacefully in the dream home where they've lived for more than 35 years. But the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood has other plans for the property.

Using its power of eminent domain, the city wants to take a neighborhood that it considers to be deteriorating and boost its fortunes by allowing a $125 million development of offices and shops.

Lawyers on both sides planned to make their case to the Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday. It is the first challenge of property rights laws to reach a state high court since the U.S. Supreme Court last summer allowed municipalities to seize homes for use by a private developer.

"It is our home, what's ours is ours, and it should be that way," Joy Gamble told a rally Wednesday morning before the hearing. "It was a home worth fighting for, and we do want it back."

About 50 supporters joined her in the light rain outside the Statehouse before marching to the court.

"If Norwood gets its way, no homeowner and no small business in Ohio will be safe from the terrible power of eminent domain," said Chip Mellor, president of the Washington-based Institute for Justice, a private property rights group that took up the Gambles' case.

Legislatures are rushing to pass their own laws because Justice John Paul Stevens, author of the majority decision in the federal court's 5-4 ruling, also noted that states have the ability to pass laws with stronger protections if they wish.

So far Alabama, California, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin have proposed bills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Ohio, a new law stops local governments from seizing unblighted private property for use by private developers while a committee studies the issue. The Gambles' lawsuit was filed before that law was passed and before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

The city and a private developer contend that Norwood had the right to acquire the property. They also argue that eminent domain applied not because the area is "blighted," but because it is "deteriorating."

How the Ohio court deals with the issue of blight has important ramifications for municipalities around the country, said Steven Eagle, a George Mason University law professor who studies property rights.

"Every jurisdiction allows condemnation to relieve blight," Eagle said. "If blight is going to be vaguely defined, then it could be open season for condemnations for redevelopment."

A ruling in favor of the Gambles would be an important first step in setting limits that courts around the country could follow, said Karen Harned, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business' Legal Foundation. The group worries that the small businesses it represents could be overtaken by bigger development.

A decision in favor of Norwood would help slow the knee-jerk reaction of many states to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, said Daniel Lindner, a lawyer representing the American Planning Association.

The Gambles, in their 60s, hoped to live comfortably in the home they had bought in 1969. They sold their small Cincinnati grocery store, Tasty Bird Poultry, and retired five years ago.

Instead of a comfortable retirement, however, they watched their neighborhood disappear as neighbors sold willingly to developer Rookwood Partners. The Gambles temporarily left their home to live with a grown daughter in Kentucky but vow to return should they win the case.

Joy Gamble speaks bitterly about the couple's ordeal and what it meant to see their home of 35 years, purchased after years of savings, in danger of demolition.

"When the municipalities and the people that have lots of money decide they want what you have, you don't own it," Gamble said. "You bought it, you paid for it, you kept the taxes up, you kept the appearance up, but it wasn't yours."
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 8:32:06 AM EDT
You have no constitutional right to own a home.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 8:40:00 AM EDT
That sucks.

Max
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 8:42:25 AM EDT
Of all the reasons for having another revolution, this is the most appropriate.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 8:43:42 AM EDT
Someone needs to call Chuck Norris. A few roundhouses to the face and the courts would see things properly.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:08:33 AM EDT



I guess they got their revolution without much bloodshed.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:23:27 AM EDT
what would I do?


Sit on my front porch, wait for the demolition team, and then start shooting. What's mine is mine.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:26:11 AM EDT
Those who beat their swords into plowshares............................
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:28:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/11/2006 9:32:41 AM EDT by shotar]
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:32:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
Vote from the rooftops. Seriously, I can understand and even support ED when it is for necessary public works. Taking ones private property to give to another private individual for profit is called theft regardless of who is doing it.



Just happened in Daytona Beach with several small mom and pop hotels on the beach near the boardwalk. The city came in, siezed the property and gave it to a private developer from Kalifornia so he could make a huge hotel, condos, and timeshares.

Link Posted: 1/11/2006 9:42:46 AM EDT



shamefull.

i don't own anything really, since i'm young and poor, but my folks worked their asses off for their retirement home in a private cove on a lake. i've been saying for a while that it's prime area to be developed into condos and campgrounds. if that area was ED'd, i'd probably lock-and-load for my folks.


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