Newscoma Has Moved
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
  Weakley County Family Given Their Land Back In Eminent Domain Case Well, the court of public outrage won in Weakley County last night. We've spoke about the issue dominating the county's local news regarding the Adams Family, who did not want to sell their land to Weakley County Municipal Electric Service. The family put huge signs in their front yard and lost in a hearing in Weakley County Circuit Court when they tried to put a halt to the utilities company buying 66 acres their family had owned for five generations. This family did not want to sell, and things looked mighty shady because the location of the farm they own is prime real estate property and is considered some of the finest land for development in the county. The Adams didn't care, they wanted to keep their farm. It meant too much to their family and future generations to let it to build headquarters for WCMES. Last night, WCMES backed out of the deal and voted unanimously to give the family back the condemned land. They are going to buy land in the general vicinity from Weakley County Farmer's Co-op. Why didn't they do this earlier? I have no idea. I mentioned before that I thought there was some last minute wheeling and dealing on this, and yesterday I wrote that a ton of lawmakers where making this their issue du jour up in Nashville (actually nation wide.) The reality is this is an election year, and this could have been the defining issue in regards to the local race. People were furious. You have no idea. At the newspaper, we received tons of letters about the issue, and not one of them came out in support of WCMES. Not one. So the public's outcry and tenacity in supporting the Adams finally made WCMES back up and realize they might have the property, but they were losing public support and trust. Batesville USA was at the meeting last night and has some interesting observations on the Adam's case. She has followed this case for the past five months, and is pleased to see a positive conclusion to a very trying situation. Now, we wait. The laws haven't changed, and the eminent domain issue will no doubtedly be put to the test again The time, however, local citizens won. 
This is GOOD! People stood together against a government organization and made the government action too costly to pursue. This is the way it SHOULD work. Kudos to you and all the others who actively fought it.

On a second level, this sets a mold for other cases when the government wants to seize land i.e. people know they CAN fight and win, and the government now knows that people WILL fight.

This is the way America SHOULD work.
And it's not only land.

I first learned of 'eminent domain' in 1984 in Baltimore when the owner of the Baltimroe Colts sneaked the team out of town in the middle of the night after proclaimations he wouldn't move them to another city.

The city was in the middle of the condemnation process when the Colts owner, Robert Irsay, hustled in Mayflower moving vans to the team's training facility and loaded everything up and took off in the dead of night for Indianapolis before Balitmore could seize any tangible or intangible property of the team.

The city not only wanted the uniforms and equipment, but also the trademarks and copyrights owned by the team.

But they lost out because Irsay knew what was coming.

By the way, Baltimore's mayor at the time was William Donald Schaefer. He's currently Maryland's comptroller of the treasury and was the one you posted about a few weeks ago when he was accused of sexually harassing a female staffer.

Anyway, congrats on the good fight in the Weakly Co. case.
Congrads on your victory!
Back in the mid-1990s the city government of Morristown tired one heck of a land grab utilizing the "eminent domain" powers, going so far as to attempt to condemn property and seize it even though the land lay in another county.

Landowners in both counties fought long and hard to block the effort, and the state's Legislature voted nearly unanimously to oppose the plan.

A referendum was then placed on the ballot by the city's Industrial Board to raise bond money for the deal, which city voters defeated more than 2 to 1. Yet, the referendum was never upheld as it was termed a "non-binding resolution".

Some months passed, the city dropped the out-of-county sections and the deal was ultimately given the go-ahead to seize the land and build the city's third industrial park, despite the fact property for development was still available in the city's other two industrial parks.

But the land grab prompted some nationwide attention and as a result, the state's Legislature adopted a resolution requiring all muncipal governments in the state to adopt a 20-Year Urban Growth Boundary plan, detailing for the public record all plans within that 20-year time frame for growth and annexation.

Seemed like a solid approach, but a little provision in the legislation allows for any municipality to file for an "exception" to violating those boundaries as long as the city and it's local state representatives presented the info to the legislature for approval.

Fights for retaining private property almost seem useless, and the only success seems to come from a solid front of citizens who speak loudly to the issue, though even that cannot always outlast the efforts of business and government which gives small perference for private land owners.
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