Monday, December 14, 2009 12:32 pm | By Sam Leverenz
In a shocking development, the New York Supreme Court has actually made a decision against expanding eminent domain abuse. The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court sided with property owners in their suit against Columbia University and the Empire State Development Corporation. Columbia University had attempted to use eminent domain to seize a large swath of West Harlem in order to raze the land and build new amenities. While this decision is welcome news for New York property owners, the editorial page of the New York Times does not seem to get it.
In an editorial published on Dec. 13, the author argues that the decision “misguidedly put a roadblock in the way of Columbia University’s expansion plans…that would benefit the surrounding neighborhood and the entire city.” It is yet unclear as to how residents and business owners in the neighborhood would benefit from the seizure of their homes and livelihoods.
The editorial claims that the new development would further extend educational opportunities, promote economic development in the neighborhood, and provide public access to open spaces. If Columbia University is truly extending their hand, who benefits? The promoters of this project act as if they are outpouring their academic and economic prosperity, but fail to recognize that they are trampling upon the rights of their neighbors in order to do so. The New York Times claims that this project will provide an economic boon for the community. It should be fairly obvious that existing businesses generate considerably more wealth than the “open spaces” planned in the expansion project.
It would appear from the article that this project combines all the best aspects of classrooms, parks, and community outreach centers. Luckily for New Yorkers, the State Supreme Court managed to see past lofty claims from the Empire State Development Corporation, and realize that this project amounts to little more than a land grab. After this month’s previous court decision awarding land to corporate developers in Brooklyn, it is reassuring to see that property rights are not dead in the Empire State.
Batten Down the Hatches! Assault on Property Rights Continues
Sunday, December 13, 2009 6:48 pm | By Kelsey Zahourek
Quin Hillyer highlights in today’s Washington Times six areas where property rights have come under attack. Among these is the Clean Water Restoration Act which would result in an unprecedented expansion of the regulatory authority of the federal government. This piece of legislation leaves all property owners vulnerable granting the federal government the power to regulate all interstate and intrastate waters, including non-navigable waters.
Wilderness "Protection" is Property Rights Infringement
Sunday, December 13, 2009 4:51 pm | By Sam Leverenz
It would appear that plans are moving ahead for the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Preservation Act (NREPA). NREPA is just the next step in a string of government actions and programs that fly in the face of property rights. This act, currently waiting in the House Natural Resources Committee, would reclassify 24 million acres of land in the Western United States as wilderness.
Designating federal land as wilderness effectively amounts to a land grab. Originally conceived to preserve lands unmarred by human hands, wilderness status is now used as a tool to block desirable land from energy development, oil exploration, cattle grazing, hunting, farming, mountain biking, and every other form of use and recreation. By restricting access to land for exploration, this legislation is limiting the potential of the economy and directly interfering with America’s entrepreneurial drive.
According to the Republican members of the Natural Resources Committee, almost 1,700 jobs would be jeopardized by passage of this bill. This fact should not come entirely as a surprise considering that none of the sponsors of NREPA represent districts that would be affected by it. The Federal government owns 650 million acres of land. Over one hundred million of those acres are now regulated as wilderness. 2009 has seen several assaults on property rights at the Federal level. On top of the Clean Water Restoration Act, the last thing that property owners need is more regulation of land use. The Natural Resources Committee surely can spend their time on more worthy causes.