JLF Triangle Blog

This one’s for the ‘it would never happen here’ crowd

During recent legislative debates about limiting North Carolina governments’ use of the eminent domain power, opponents contended that this state’s cities and towns never would use the power in a questionable way.

Enter The Daily Tar Heel to disabuse you of that notion. Leave it to Carrboro to test the bounds of government’s limitations.

In a Dec. 17 email to the board, former Alderman Dan Coleman asked if the town could take over Collins Crossing under the eminent domain provision of the Constitution.

His proposal — which has yet to be legally vetted — met support from Aldermen Sammy Slade, Michelle Johnson and Lydia Lavelle.

The eminent domain clause allows governments to take over private property without owner consent. The clause has historically been invoked to take over property for the construction of projects like highways and railroads.

But Coleman argued that per the Kelo decision — a 2005 Supreme Court decision which upheld the use of eminent domain to transfer ownership of private property in the interest of furthering economic development — Carrboro’s transaction might be legal.

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