Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Economic Development?

This question was brought to many Americans’ attention in 2005 after the decision for Kelo v. New London was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. In that case, the Court stated that government could condemn property and convey it to private entities for economic development. The public use requirement was found in that the private developer would bring about economic benefits to the public by increased tax revenue and an increase in jobs. In context, the Kelo case occurred during the time Pfizer Inc. moved to New London, Connecticut. The condemnation of Ms. Kelo’s house was required to build a shopping center close to the Pfizer plant as an alleged attraction to Pfizer Inc.

            However, in the wake of Kelo, many states scrambled to pass laws to limit the government’s ability to exercise eminent domain in same fashion as in Kelo.  North Carolina has not been the best at limiting the government’s power. However, under the recently passed Urban Redevelopment Plan, the General Assembly did tighten up on when the government could condemn a “blighted” area. Essentially, this curtails the reverse “robin hood effect” of taking from the poor to give to the rich. The Urban Redevelopment Plan does serve to also keep the government from taking land in pristine condition and giving it to other private entities as in Kelo.

            Subsequently, the Urban Redevelopment Plan does not serve to protect all land that is in pristine condition. Certain government entities could take property for economic development reasons if they are authorized by statute. For example, Chapter 40A of the North Carolina General Statutes authorizes public transportation authorities to take private land that might be useful to its purposes. If you are facing a situation similar to the ones above, you should not hesitate to reach out to a North Carolina eminent domain attorney.

Our firm focuses on three practice areas: Disability, Personal Injury, and Eminent Domain. Every practice area has attorneys who have expertise in their respective area of practice. 

Chad Brown is a North Carolina Board Certified Social Security disability law specialist. Mr. Brown helps Social Security disability claimants at all stages of the disability process. He also works with people that have Long Term Disability denials and with people that are injured by drugs and defective medical products.

Your Questions Answered

Why is Eminent Domain Legal?

The legality of eminent domain goes all the way back to the Roman Empire. However, American law has recognized the right of eminent domain as an inherent power that precedes any government statute and even the Constitution. The recognition that the courts have given...

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Who Can Exercise Eminent Domain?

Generally, any sovereign government may exercise the inherent right of eminent domain. Eminent domain is an inherent right that is deemed to exist automatically within the borders of a sovereign government. A government is...

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What Is the Purpose of Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain is the inherent right of the government to take private property that is owned by a private citizen and convert it to public use. The primary purpose for eminent domain is the “public use.” Typically, this entails taking property, usually land, in order...

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