Property rights issue will be on ballot

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We have a very important issue on the November ballot.

The citizens of our county and the state are impacted by this. Hopefully everyone will support it.

How did we get here?

Property rights have been under assault since the Supreme Court’s infamous 2005 ruling Kelo v. New London.

In Kelo, the Supreme Court held that a local government could use eminent domain to take private property from a homeowner and transfer it to a private company in the name of promoting economic development.

Homeowners have worried that this ruling is so broad that it would let the government take anyone’s land for any nebulous “public purpose.”

Why do we need it?

Virginia needs this amendment because without it the government can take property through eminent domain and give it to another person.

Just look at what is happening in Norfolk, where the city is trying to use eminent domain to take property belonging Bob Wilson.

Why? Not for a road or a school, but for a commercial development.

Virginia needs better protections for private property, and the amendment will do just that.

What does the amendment do?

The amendment will state that:

• Property can only be taken for public use, like a road, and that the government bears the burden of proving the use is in fact public.

• The government cannot take more property than is necessary to accomplish the demonstrated public use.

• The compensation for the property owner will include lost profits and other losses.

Who else supports the amendment?

The amendment has been endorsed by the Virginia Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Businesses as well as other property rights groups.

Larry Smith