Eminent domain

Kelo abandonment holds lesson for Wichita

In New London, Connecticut, developers wanted to build a new business complex on land owned by a number of homeowners, including Suzette Kelo. She didn't want to sell, and the case eventually wound its way to the United States Supreme Court. In the decision, the court ruled in favor of the ability of cities to use eminent domain to take property from one party and give to another private party for economic development. Locally, at least one Wichita bureaucrat was relieved. According to Wichita Eagle reporting: City economic development director Allen Bell lauded the Supreme Court decision. "I'm relieved to…
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Wichita planning puts freedom, prosperity at risk

Remarks to be delivered to the October 13, 2009 meeting of the Wichita City Council. Mr. Mayor, members of the council, I'm here today to ask this council to put aside consideration of this proposal. My reasons are not particular to this proposal or planning firm, but rather I am concerned that we believe we have the ability to successfully plan at all. Here's just one reason why I'm concerned: Wichita's favorite method of financing developments is the TIF district. Recognizing this, the Goody Clancy proposal under the heading "Opportunities" mentions "Continue to employ established TIF funding mechanisms." But as…
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Wichita city council: more travel on tap

At tomorrow's meeting of the Wichita City Council, approval of more travel is on the agenda. Tomorrow's agenda item is this: "Approval of travel expenses for Mayor Brewer, Council Member Schlapp, Council Member Gray, and Council Member Williams to attend the NLC Congress of Cities in San Antonio, Texas, November 10-15, 2009." This is all the information that is available. The reaction of citizens to council member Janet Miller's junketeering to France has been overwhelmingly against this type of wasteful travel. Now we have four members of the council traveling for five days to a National League of Cities event.…
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Wichita downtown revitalization discussed on Kansas Week

Bob Weeks discusses planning for downtown Wichita revitalization and what he learned on his trip to the Platinum Triangle in Anaheim, California. Host Tim Brown and guest Randy Brown also appear. From the KPTS Television show Kansas Week, August 14, 2009. The article referred to is Wichita’s getting ready to plan.
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Wichita’s getting ready to plan

As the City of Wichita develops a grand plan for downtown revitalization, can we have a process that is freedom-friendly and respects property rights? I went to Anaheim to find out. Leaders in Wichita -- both private and public sector -- believe that Wichita needs a plan for downtown. To support this, the city is seeking to develop a Downtown Revitalization Master Plan, a "a twenty-year vision for its thriving downtown." Right away I want to ask: if downtown is thriving, why does it need revitalization? The document Wichita used to lure planning firms to apply for the planning job…
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Sedgwick County needs to slow down, deliberate land purchase

Sedgwick County seems to be in a rush to make a huge decision that will have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on our county. We don't have, however, anywhere near all the information we need to make this decision. We need to slow down and decide what role we want to have county government play in economic development. The stated goal of Sedgwick County's purchase of the Bel Aire industrial park is to have a site ready for companies of 1,000 or more employees. The Wichita Eagle article Sedgwick County seeks to attract industry with land plan tells us, though, that…
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Eminent domain abuse, then economic failure

The Cato Institute has a new video that details the history of Kelo v. City of New London, in which Suzette Kelo's house was taken from her using eminent domain and given to a private developer for purposes of economic development. "As it happens, the space where Kelo's house and others once stood is still an empty dustbowl generating zero economic impact for the town." View the video by clicking here.
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Urban Renewal: A Flawed Idea That Failed 50 Years Ago

Thank you to Karl Peterjohn for this excellent, well-researched article. Urban Renewal: A Flawed Idea That Failed 50 Years Ago By Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director Kansas Taxpayers Network EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1) Urban renewal failed across the United States in the 20th century. The urban renewal efforts from the 20th century that are the foundation for the newly proposed redevelopment agency in Wichita rely upon these old Kansas laws that require an increase in local government’s powers. There are no clearly defined steps that will avoid repeating these past mistakes in the public hearing discussions so far. 2) The financing mechanism…
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A downtown Wichita urban renewal success story … not

This history lesson from Karl Peterjohn of the Kansas Taxpayers Network tells the story of what might have been for downtown Wichita, and shows how close Wichita came to losing a company very important to our local economy, even if they're not located downtown. In the 1960’s the urban renewal redevelopment project that became Century II used eminent domain and forced a medium sized, private company in the petroleum business out of their office building and corporate headquarters on the south side of W. Douglas just east of the river. This business was in transition with the founder handing off…
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Bill Davitt on blight

Bill Davitt makes some excellent points about the dangers of giving politicians power to control blight through eminent domain. He also explains why it is best to vote for Carlos Mayans for mayor of Wichita. Bill warns us that your home or business may be declared blighted even though it is in good and desirable condition. He is referring to cases all over the country where local officials abuse their power to declare property blighted so that it can be taken from its owners. The Castle Coalition has examples of property that is being declared blighted. You be the judge…
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