Friday, November 11, 2011

City Council, November 14th - Eminent Domain

On transportation issues, leading City Council on Monday are
resolutions authorizing eminent domain proceedings to acquire right-of-way and easements from three properties located near the intersection of Market Street NE and Lancaster Drive NE.
While there is no certainty that the finality of eminent domain will be necessary,
In order to maintain the project construction schedule, it is now necessary to initiate legal proceedings in Marion County Circuit Court to determine just compensation and to provide the City with immediate possession, which will allow preliminary construction activities to commence.
As objections arise to "takings" for facilities for people who walk and bike, it is important to remember that the City will use eminent domain as necessary for transportation facilities. A process will arrive at "just compensation," so it's not simply taking. At the same time because transportation projects serve many people - they connect many places through a single place - it may not be fair for one property owner to put the kibosh on a project.*

The City will discuss matching funds and its contribution for the Glen Creek path as are required under the Flex Funds application.

The City proposes to shift some funds to add 10 streetlights along Edgewater NW between Patterson and Kingwood on the north side of the street (away from the highway and river), specifically to illuminate the sidewalks. Each light will apparently cost $13,500.

Finally, the City will determine whether to continue with the Downtown Economic Improvement District.

* Of course there are situations where because of historical, archaeological, environmental, or other significance (and these are community rather than individual values), a single place may hold up a project. Moreover, obviously there are times when community values should not trump individual values. So there are no hard-n-fast rules. The important thing is that eminent domain be retained as an option: planning for facilities for people who walk and bike should not be treated differently from planning for facilities for people who drive.

In any event, this project, actually, may not be a good poster child for bike advocates as eminent domain, since it is a project so auto-centric, and does not serve a multi-modal system and community as well as it might.

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