Background on eminent domain in Stockbridge

I wanted to give a little background information to those of you may not be familiar with the story of Mark & Regina Meeks and the ongoing eminent domain fight in Stockbridge.

The Meeks family is at the center of eminent domain reform in Georgia and have been working as almost fulltime lobbyists for the restoration of private property rights in our state.

Regina and I have owned and operated Stockbridge Florist & Gifts at our property on North Henry Boulevard for many years. Our property and florist shop are our primary assets. In May 2003, we and Stockbridge had conflicting plans for our property, and Stockbridge eventually filed a condemnation case to resolve the conflict in its favor. This is not unusual. What is unusual is the private purpose for which Stockbridge wanted our property and the bad faith, dishonesty, sharp tactics, and abuses of power that Stockbridge employed for over two years to keep our property underdeveloped and to hold down the price that Stockbridge eventually would have to pay to condemn it.

You can read the rest of their story here.

4 comments

  1. This stinks! It’s one thing for a blighted city to use the powers available to it to redevelop property where no one wants to build. It’s quite another when people are already moving in to redevelop it themselves and some overzealous local officials decide they want to do it their way instead of letting the market dictate.

    And to think the GOP wants to give developers (and their easily bought local officials) more power to throw around. It may not be called eminent domain but it stinks just the same.

  2. JaseLP says:

    “And to think the GOP wants to give developers (and their easily bought local officials) more power to throw around.”
    I’m hearing that the legislation that came out of the Judiciary Committee does just that.

  3. zra says:

    Forgive me if this is a dumb question or if i am misapplying things… but doesn’t this whole change of zoning amount to a violation of the restrictions on bills of attainder in the Constitution?

    This paragraph caught my eye:

    Instead, in November 2003, while we were still in the inspection period under our contract with the Eckerd developer, Stockbridge adopted new zoning restrictions covering our property and our neighbors’ properties that limited retail drug stores and pharmacies to 5,000 square feet. Because Eckerd planned to build a 13,000 square foot drug store, these new zoning restrictions effectively killed the Eckerd project. Even though Mr. Strickland and Stockbridge’s Mayor, Rudy Kelley, knew about our contract with Eckerd, Stockbridge never sent us any notice of the new zoning restrictions and never posted anything at our property. We didn’t find out about the new zoning restrictions until after they were passed.

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