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The Preeminent Domain

An Eminent Domain and Land Use Blog

Page: 5 of 7

Seizing Mortgages – Richmond Fails to Get Supermajority Vote

The Richmond City Council has failed to obtain the supermajority of votes needed to enact its eminent domain plan to seize underwater mortgages. California eminent domain law requires five of the seven members of a city council to approve a measure to use eminent domain. Richmond could not obtain the five required votes to proceed. The city is not quitting, however. It is continuing its pursuit to help homeowners suffering from underwater mortgages. But to do so, the City is... Read More ›
February 26, 2014

If a Permit Condition Is Not a Compensable Taking, It Is Constitutional

It is a natural assumption that if a municipality is going to impose conditions on the granting of a building permit that the conditions must be reasonably related to the permit or else the conditions are not constitutional. But, a California court has held that if the condition that is being imposed does not unconstitutionally take something from the landowner, then it does not matter if the condition is reasonably related to the permit or not. In Powell v. County... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
February 21, 2014

UK Wind Study Draft Available

A draft of the new UK study attempting to measure the impact of wind farms on property values is available for review and comment. The study, conducted by Professor Steve Gibbons, Director of the London School of Economics, Spatial Economics Research Centre, concluded: “Wind farms reduce house prices in postcodes where the turbines are visible. This price reduction is around 5-6% for housing with a visible wind farm of average size (11 turbines) within 2km, falling to 3% within 4km,... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
February 12, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – The Constitutional Issues

As outlined in my previous post, opponents of the Richmond plan criticize it for its potential impact on the financial market. Opponents, like Wells Fargo, are also quick to declare the plan is unconstitutional. The basis for this argument lies in the transient nature of a mortgage loan. When a person buys a house, the mortgage loan generally does not stay with the homeowner. Instead, the loan – or pieces of it – are sold or transferred between banks, packaged... Read More ›
February 5, 2014

Wind Turbines and Property Values in the UK

I recently described two statistical studies completed in 2013 attempting to measure the effect of wind turbines on residential property values. One analyzed 48,000 home sales in New England, and was conducted by Professor Cory Lang of the University of Rhode Island. The other analyzed 50,000 sales of homes in 27 counties in nine states. The latter study concluded there was no statistically observable difference in prices between homes located close to wind facilities and those further away. The East... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 27, 2014

Seizing Mortgages – The Impact on the Financial Markets

The Richmond eminent domain plan has attracted a great deal of attention since the city first introduced it. Many approved of its purpose: to help the poor fight to keep their heads above water when their homes were so far underwater. There are many, however, who do not share this sentiment. Banks and investors are concerned about the plan’s impact on the financial markets. Banks have alleged there could be financial losses exceeding $200 million. How could such financial losses... Read More ›
January 27, 2014

Suit Commenced Over Highland Wind Farm CPCN

The Town of Forest has sued the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW), asking the court to reverse the decision of the PSCW granting the Highland Wind Farm a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for the development of a wind project in St. Croix County. In an earlier post I described the steps taken, and contemplated, by the Town of Forest in St. Croix County to fight the construction of the project. Last November, the town filed a... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 27, 2014

Iowa Ponders a Legislative Change

Three Iowa legislators plan to co-sponsor bills that some have suggested will “strengthen Iowans’ private property rights” by limiting the taking of private property through the use of eminent domain. Two new bills are reportedly in the works. The first would limit electric transmission line projects to those which provide a “significant portion” of the power transmitted to customers in Iowa, while the second would limit the use of eminent domain to “public use” purposes. The proposed legislation appears to... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 16, 2014

In Minnesota, a Legal Non-Conforming Use is Not Terminated by Issuing or Revoking a Conditional Use Permit

A permitted use is a use for a property that is intended and allowed as long as the landowner meets all of the other requirements of the particular zoning category.  A conditional use is a use for a property that is conditioned upon certain requirements.  In the latter, the landowner applies for a conditional use permit (“CUP”).  If the CUP is approved, it is granted subject to conditions, and those conditions become part of the CUP.  If those conditions are... Read More ›
Michelle Martin
Michelle Martin
January 8, 2014

Court Holds Condemnation is Not Mandatory

In Chojnacki v. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (“WPS”), a Wisconsin Circuit Court case venued in Portage County, WPS negotiated an easement for a gas main on Mr. Chojnacki’s property. WPS simply negotiated a price for the easement rather than following Chapter 32 condemnation procedures.  Chojnacki sued, alleging he is entitled to more money for the easement, and WPS should have followed condemnation procedures by, among other things, having an appraisal completed, giving him the opportunity to have an appraisal done... Read More ›
Steve Streck
Steve Streck
January 7, 2014