An environmental expert has contradicted the City of Tempe's claim that the only way to clean up property at a proposed commercial development site is to condemn private property. In other words, Tempe's use of the despotic power of eminent domain is not about cleaning up the environment. Instead, as we've suspected all along, Tempe is using eminent domain as a tool for economic redevelopment, which is prohibited by the Arizona Constitution (Art. 2, sect. 17).
The environmental consultant, hired by developer Miravista Holdings, admitted that it is possible to clean the site one parcel at a time, making condemnation unnecessary. As the East Valley Tribune reports, another environmental expert, Brad Johnston, vice president of SCS Engineers, said, "This is not high-tech stuff. One method is digging a hole in the ground and sucking the [methane] gas out."
Last June, the Goldwater Institute published a report on alternatives to eminent domain. In several cities, these alternative methods have proved to be effective ways to redevelop while protecting property rights. This Goldwater Institute op-ed, published in the Arizona Republic, looks specifically at the Tempe case.