Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.
PHOENIX-Arizona law enforcement agencies have used a legal tactic known as civil asset forfeiture to confiscate over $64.5 million of private property since 2000, a new Goldwater Institute report documents. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to confiscate property connected to a crime without ever filing criminal charges against the property owner.
The power of eminent domain was granted to governments for the purpose of constructing public infrastructure but has increasingly been used as a redevelopment tool to transfer private property from one owner to another. Although there are legitimate reasons for invoking eminent domain, the current practice of condemning private property in the name of redevelopment is rarely about building public infrastructure and regularly about turning areas that produce little tax revenue into high revenue generators. Taking a property owner's brake shop or barber shop because it is too small, too old, too ugly, or another party has a "better" use for the land violates fundamental constitutional principles, creates uncertainty about property rights, and can deter individuals from opening or expanding their businesses.
Many Arizona property owners have learned the hard way that municipalities are free to change zoning classifications and thereby "downzone" parcels of land. Also, local governments may change the zoning restrictions or requirements included in zoning ordinances. Such government actions frequently diminish the value of landowner's properties and destroy investments.
Study Recommends Repeal of 1997 Redevelopment Statutes
Phoenix, AZ-Are property owners in danger of having their land taken by the government to make way for hardware stores and strip malls? In a study released today by the Goldwater Institute, land use and zoning attorney Jordan Rose argues that takings for private use are on the upswing in Arizona. Rose blames the 1997 redevelopment statutes, saying they have "gutted the Arizona Constitution's prohibition against taking private property for private use."