“If you own a home, a farm, a small business or a piece of land in the state of Washington, you should be disturbed to learn the results of a new study released by the Washington Policy Center.
The report, The Use and Abuse of Washingtons Community Renewal Law, concludes that, because of Washingtons Community Renewal Law (CRL), home and small-business owners of the Evergreen State are not protected from eminent domain abuselocal government officials can take anyones property and sell it to a developer for private gain….
Both the Washington Policy Centers Vice President for Research, Paul Guppy, and IJ-WAs executive director, Bill Maurer, were members of Attorney General Rob McKennas Eminent Domain Task Force, which recently concluded its investigation into the need to reform Washingtons eminent domain laws. The final report of the Task Force, which will be released this winter, is expected to suggest important reforms to Washingtons eminent domain laws, including significant reform of the CRL.
Guppy said, ‘Sometimes officials use of eminent domain power doesnt work because homeowners fight back and win, but that doesnt stop them from trying. For Washington property owners, the Community Renewal Law is like a loaded weapon: you never know when some mayor or city council member might decide to point it at you.’
Petersen [Institute for Justice Washington Chapter (IJ-WA) Staff Attorney Jeanette M. Petersen] concluded, ‘Because of the demonstrated capacity for abuse of Washingtons CRL, true protection for Washington residents and business owners can only come if the CRL is amended to permit eminent domain only to address a specific parcel of property creating a serious health or safety risk to the surrounding neighborhood.’
While the report speaks of the Community Renewal Law (CRL), a law that allows local governments to label any private property blighted and take it for private redevelopment, eminent domain abuse can also include a municipality attempting to acquire water rights, which Yelm’s City Council voted to take on November 10th. The McMonigle’s contend the City of Yelm is using eminent domain to acquire their water rights to support large housing developments in the city limits, consistent with this from the CRL Report: “local government officials can take anyones property and sell it to a developer for private gain.”
CLICK HERE for the full report.