Fair Play

Posted on February 02, 2006
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In the game Monopoly,  players buy properties and trade with each other to build their empires.  Imagine if the Monopoly City Hall arbitrarily decided that your “St. Charles Place” should be razed to make way for “Park Place II”?  That’s the type of gamesmanship common in eminent domain cases. 

Recently, the City of Tempe decided to have developers move forward on the Tempe Marketplace project.  Not so long ago, Tempe found itself in a quandary: after protracted legal proceedings, the courts wouldn’t let the city seize holdout properties through eminent domain to make way for a colossal shopping mall.

With eminent domain removed as an option, Vestar Development Company brokered a deal with the remaining property owners.  Five of the seven agreed, letting Vestar start development. 

Imagine what would happen if local governments didn’t possess unwieldy powers of eminent domain in the first place.  Like the Tempe case demonstrates, we might expect more voluntary agreements between developers and property owners. 

Local governments shouldn’t be playing games with eminent domain.  Good sportsmanship should always be the rule, whether in the game of Monopoly or life. 

Key Links:

-Goldwater Institute:  “This Land is My Land:  Reforming Eminent Domain After Kelo v. City of New London
-Goldwater Institute:  “Condemning Condemnation:  Alternatives to Eminent Domain”
- East Valley Tribune:  “Tempe Marketplace already making itself known”

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