Eminently Unjust: Giving Government Too Much Discretion in Eminent-Domain Cases
Publication Date: January 2008
Publisher(s): Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Author(s): Richard A. Epstein
Keywords: Port Chester; Property Rights; Eminent Domain
Coverage: New York
An example of what political actors can legally do with unchecked condemnation power in eminent-domain cases. 1999, Port Chester, NY established a redevelopment area in which new projects could be built only after getting approval from a village-designated private individual to whom the municipality inexplicably delegated its regulatory authority.
When two owners of a plot asked for permission to build a pharmacy, the reported reply was, “Either pay me $800,000 to build or give me a piece of the action, or I’ll have the village take the property.” The day after they spurned the offer, Port Chester did indeed start the takings process, then arranged for another pharmacy to develop the site.