Thursday, July 27, 2006

Norwood v. Horney: A Reversal of Kelo?

On June 26, 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court published a decision striking down the city of Norwood's use of eminent domain for a developer. This decision is viewed as a victory for property owners in Norwood, in Ohio and across the nation.

Norwood v. Horney (2006-Ohio-3799) was the first major eminent-domain case argued and decided by a state supreme court since Kelo v. City of New London (125 S. Ct. 2655). In the Norwood case, seven Ohio Supreme Court Justices agreed that Ohio cities cannot take property by eminent domain solely for economic development, in effect halting a developer's plans to build a $125 million retail center and office complex on the site. The ruling gave ammunition to property rights groups across the country, who tried to make Ohio the first on what could be a long list of state challenges to eminent-domain laws.

The Ohio Supreme Court found constitutional problems with the state's eminent-domain law, primarily: 1) it allowed private property to be taken solely for the economic benefit of the community; 2) the standard for using eminent domain to eliminate "deteriorating areas" had become so vague that it was "a standardless standard;" and 3) it did not allow property owners the right to appeal until the property was already taken.

Legal scholars, who said the decision reversed 50 years of Ohio law, stated that the decision wasn't surprising, given the atmosphere following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo.

Other Ohio newspapers on the eminent domain ruling:

Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

Columbus Dispatch:

Toledo Blade:

Dayton Daily News:

No comments: