You reap what you sow.
That’s the lesson being taught to developers in Ozark, Missouri. A few years ago, a company called Hagerman New Urbanism benefited from Ozark’s use of eminent domain power to trample on the property rights of local citizens. The city shoved residents off their property. Hagerman got the stolen land.
But Ozark is unhappy with the progress of redevelopment. The city wants to pull the plug and give the land to somebody else. How can they, though? After all, Hagerman now “owns” the land. Right? Yeah, right.
The parties are in court fighting about whether the city owes money for the work done so far and other contractual matters. But judicial processes are long-winded and messy. And spending money is expensive. So the city is threatening to use eminent domain yet again. This time against the very developer who benefited from the first land looting.
Local activists like Jane Carpenter, who fought the original use of eminent domain, may appreciate the poetic justice here. But as a matter of principle they don’t support a new eminent domain grab. They say it would signal to businesses thinking of coming to Ozark to stay the heck away.
Good points. Still, I doubt that many folks in Ozark or elsewhere would shed any tears over Hagerman being forced to glug down its own poisonous medicine.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.