I presented a bill in summer study committee on a problem I see growing more and more. (And no, I didn't take per diem.) Government is taking land by use of eminent domain laws (the words "public good" are too vague and allow for misuse,my bill would change the wording to be more specific.) and reselling it to other private individuals and businesses.
I feel this is government interfering with the free market economy and getting involved in who succeeds and who fails in the free market. If a developer wants a piece of property, he should have to work out a deal with the owner of the land. If the owner does not want to sell the property, the developer should look somewhere else or raise the asking price, etc.
I understand this law is needed for schools, roads, and power lines etc. However I know many examples here in Knoxville where this is happening-but not for reasons involving public use. One local car dealer had his lot taken from him and then it was sold to Food City supermarkets. He was told he was given fair market value for his property and sent on his way. There are other considerations however involved in taking property on which a business is located such as future loss of income, future value of the business, or future value of the property.
In our and other states the key word is "blight". If property is deemed "blight", the property is taken and resold to high dollar developers. This term can be applied loosely-for instance homes not meeting the criteria of an attached 2 car garage, 2 bathrooms and central heat and air have been deemed blighted . Blight can also be as simple as grass being 6in. tall.
The Tennessee Municipal League stood against this bill and said it would hurt their ability to recruit major industrial developments (football stadiums were brought up) and develop undeveloped property.
I said that is not the job of government but instead should be left to the market economy. Government's job should be to ensure fairness and let the market decide. A farmer and legislator, Frank Nicely, who was in the audience jumped into the discussion to report how many farmers and people who buy land, purchase it in the hopes of it appreciating in value and being able to sell it or hand it down to future generations. He said this is just a way of big business trying to get sweetheart deals and that this was not an issue a few decades ago.
Another legislator raised the issue of TVA taking a bunch of land for lakes and dams years ago, and now they are selling the same land they took for pennies on the dollar to big developers for big money. These developers are making millions developing beautiful lakefront communities.
In instances such as this, I think the original property owners should have the first rights to purchase their property back for the same price it was taken for. That is only fair and just.
As I have said , not much happens in summer study committees except feedback. I would like to get your feedback on this issue if you are so inclined.