A recent story involving set-backs
for the Raleigh city plaza on ABC
11 Eyewitness News caught my attention. The city has faced multiple
set-backs to the new plaza which will be located at the end of Fayetteville Street.
The plaza is now $2.5 million over budget. Talks have broken down between the
city and The Simpson Organization, the group of investors that own the land.
What does the Raleigh City Council and County Manager plan to do to resolve the issue? According to ABC 11, Raleigh City Manager
Russell Allen is recommending the city council take the step of
"condemning" the land. In other words, according to Councilman Roger
Koopman, “It basically means that the city exercises its ability to do eminent
domain, to take back a piece of land.”
Take back a piece of land from a
private owner? Because the city is not getting its way with the delay in
construction, they are going to forcibly take this parcel of land from a
private entity and use it for “public use.” Should public use include the
creation of four shopping pavilions, water features, and fancy light stands?
The arrogance that the city of Raleigh is exhibiting should cause any property owner to cringe. This is big government
at its worst. (The funny thing is that The Simpson Organization has offered the
city the license to begin construction, which the city has not acted upon.) If
this incident does not spur the need to pass a constitutional amendment
limiting the use of eminent domain, then I don’t know what does.