Voters limit Columbia's eminent domain power

Apr 3, 2013

Many Columbia property owners are cheering after City of Columbia Proposition One passed yesterday with nearly 70 percent of the vote. 

The proposition prevents the City of Columbia from using its eminent domain power to seize property with the intention of allowing private entities to take over.

The proposition does not eliminate the city’s domain power, but it does limit it. Columbia resident Anne Orazio said she’s happy the city’s older tactics can no longer be used.

“Maybe if it was for the good of the whole community, that would be okay," Orazio said. "But, if then they give it to a private person and say now you can put a hotel here and you can  make money from this other person’s land, I think that’s not right."

Last year the Regional Economic Development, Inc. attempted to declare areas North Columbia “blighted” in an effort to make it an “Enhanced Enterprise Zone.” City officials and community activists have since debated the hot issue.

Columbia resident Scott Denson said the issue is so outrageous it should have never become an issue.

“How is one citizen better than another," Denson said. "How can you possibly just take some citizen’s property and just give it to another citizen? The idea of it kind of smells."

Both residents are happy about the message the vote sent to Columbia officials.