You would think government and quasi-government entities would realize people are sensitive to Kelo right now. But apparently there are enough people oblivious to present reality to keep generating stories like this.
The Effingham Development Authority’s recent condemnation of several thousand acres of International Paper land has a key Senate leader pointing to the case as “the poster child” for the need to strip development authorities of the power of eminent domain.
Lawyers for International Paper Realty and the Effingham Development Authority (EDA) wrangled in court Dec. 21 over some 2,628 acres of property EDA is seizing through eminent domain.
IP Realty has been developing the land for residential use for about four years. EDA wants to turn it into an industrial park.
Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson criticized the Authority for condemning the property.
“They should not be doing this,” he said in a phone interview Dec. 22. “They should buy it on the free market like everybody else. If IP doesn’t want to sell, then that’s tough. That’s the free market system, a willing seller and a willing buyer.”
I use to help represent development authorities. Most of them are unelected and, as a result, a few members frequently feel unaccountable to voters. I think the best course of action is to require development authorities to get the local government to exercise eminent domain power on the authority’s behalf. That way the voters have someone to hold accountable.