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  • Eminent Domain run amok


    D.C. Seizes 16 Owners' Property for Stadium

    As Negotiations With City Continue, Tenants Given Three Months to Vacate Land in Southeast
    The District government filed court papers yesterday to seize $84 million worth of property from 16 owners in Southeast, giving them 90 days to leave and make way for a baseball stadium.
    By invoking eminent domain, city officials said last week, they hope to keep construction of the Washington Nationals' ballpark on schedule to open in March 2008. The city exercised its "quick take" authority, in which it takes immediate control of the titles to the properties.

    Under law, the property owners and their tenants must vacate the land within three months unless a judge declares the seizure unconstitutional.

    In papers filed in D.C. Superior Court, city attorneys said: "The Properties subject of this action . . . are taken for an authorized municipal use, namely the construction and operation of a publicly owned baseball stadium complex."

    A spokeswoman from the D.C. attorney general's office did not respond to a message left for her yesterday evening.

    In all, 23 property owners control 14 acres at the stadium site near South Capitol Street and the Navy Yard along the Anacostia River.

    City officials said they have agreed to buy land from seven owners, who were not named in the court filing. The city had offered them a total of $13 million, but it is not known whether that was the final sale price.

    The other 16 property owners have not agreed to sell, and their holdings include some of the largest and most expensive properties: an asphalt plant, a trash transfer station and adult-oriented businesses.

    Negotiations are continuing, city officials said. But M. Roy Goldberg, an attorney for Eastern Trans-Waste, the trash transfer station that the city valued at $8.7 million, said yesterday that the company intends to fight.

    The company's owners have told the city their property is worth $14.3 million, plus $18 million if they cannot find another site.

    "We're going to fight the amount of the taking and the way they've gone about doing it," Goldberg said. "I don't think they've been negotiating in good faith since Day One."

    The city deposited the $84 million in a court-monitored trust. Property owners have 20 days to challenge the constitutionality of the takeover. As long as the District can show that the land was taken for a legitimate public purpose, the court probably will have no objections, land-use lawyers said.

    Some activists have argued that the stadium is a private project for Major League Baseball, but District leaders say the $535 million project will create significant tax revenue. Developers have snatched up land just outside the stadium plot in anticipation of a waterfront revival, and the city is planning to create a "ballpark district" featuring restaurants and retail.

    If the court does not block the city's action, property owners can continue to negotiate with the city, but in lieu of an agreement, a jury would ultimately decide the sale prices. But that could happen months, even years, after the owners are forced to leave, land-use lawyers said.

    The city's offers for the land are about 2 1/2 times as high as the amounts that it had assessed the properties to be worth for tax purposes last year. But some owners said they want more money because owners of property just outside the stadium land have received higher offers from developers.

    Patricia Ghiglino, who owns an art studio assessed by the city at $1.7 million, said yesterday that she is meeting with city officials Nov. 14 to discuss the offer. She said she has hired an appraiser to conduct an independent analysis of how much money her property is worth.

    "I don't know if the city will want to avoid litigation and just come up clean," Ghiglino said. "But if they decide they don't want to agree with our appraiser, then I guess I don't have too much recourse" but to let the court decide.

    Ghiglino, who has been in her property 15 years, said she felt strange that the city now controls the title to her land.

    "I've cried so many days since this first came up" last year, she said. "It was very, very personal to me. We created the center. I worked 60 to 90 hours a week here, on Saturdays and Sundays. This became not just a business but also my home. . . . At end, this just becomes a business issue. I have to look for ways that are best for me personally. But we will continue the center regardless of where we go. That's our mission."
    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

  • #2
    Of all of the ridiculous laws that have been enacted in my lifetime, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. IMO, this flies in the face of everything this nation is supposed to be about.
    Make America Great For Once.

    Comment


    • #3
      The owners of that property were told 9 months ago that their property would be appraised and purchased via eminent domain. If they made no arrangements other than to squat and fight during that time, they're just being stupid.

      There are also only a couple of families who maintain a primary residence on this property--the rest is either deserted, for rent, or otherwise in use. One delusionary soul was on TV here yesterday talking about the historical significance of his property and how he was "fixing it up" and "remodeling" it to re-open as a bed and breakfast. It sounds good until you realize the area there at Anacostia is an absolute hellhole of urban blight; it'd be like talking about opening a bread and breakfast on the North Side in St. Louis. "Gosh, can't wait to spend a lovely weekend there!"

      That area of The District is a blight; while I sympathize with anyone losing property in this manner, what the article doesn't tell you is that none of that property is sale-able; if someone in that area were to put their property and "house" up for $50,000, they wouldn't be able to move it in this market, so undesirable is the area (and I don't mean necessarily crime-ridden or lacking in services, although both things are problems there; the area is totally off any beaten path as well; it'd be like property owners north of the city workhouse in that blighted warehouse district in St. Louis just inside the riverfront having their property seized via ED...no one fucking goes to this area and across the Anacostia river from it is a dingy swamp). The owners will receive for that property an estimated 4 times it's sale-able value. In this crazy housing market, it won't get you a mansion in Pentagon City, but it will allow any of the primary-residence occupants to relocate to a nicer area here rather comfortably, and will compensate the remaining dozen or so property owners there handsomely for a property investment that had no value at all.
      I like cheese.

      Comment


      • #4
        QUOTE(The Kev @ Oct 27 2005, 05:41 AM) Quoted post

        Of all of the ridiculous laws that have been enacted in my lifetime, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. IMO, this flies in the face of everything this nation is supposed to be about.
        [/b][/quote]

        How were the seizures of land and property that paved the way for the Lambert Airport expansion any different...other than it taking 20 years of court fights in order for the inevitable to happen?
        I like cheese.

        Comment


        • #5
          Just wait until it's your house.
          And, frankly, it has never occured to me that "winning" a debate is important, or that I should be hurt when someone like Airshark or kah, among others (for whom winning a pseudo debate or declaring intellectual superiority over invisible others is obviously very important) ridicule me.

          -The Artist formerly known as King in KC

          Comment


          • #6
            Didn't hear a lot of outrage about Kirkwood annexing Meacham Park and taking all of those folks' property for Sam's and Lowe's.

            Moon

            Comment


            • #7
              QUOTE(Moon Man @ Oct 27 2005, 06:55 AM) Quoted post
              Didn't hear a lot of outrage about Kirkwood annexing Meacham Park and taking all of those folks' property for Sam's and Lowe's.

              Moon [/b][/quote]



              consider me outraged
              Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 27 2005, 02:18 PM) Quoted post

                QUOTE(Moon Man @ Oct 27 2005, 06:55 AM) Quoted post
                Didn't hear a lot of outrage about Kirkwood annexing Meacham Park and taking all of those folks' property for Sam's and Lowe's.

                Moon [/b][/quote]



                consider me outraged
                [/b][/quote]

                change the law...might start with amending the Constitution...

                property owners are guaranteed just compensation, and they have recourse in the courts if they feel they've been slighted...they do not have the ability to hold a public project hostage, however...IMO, a stadium falls somewhere between an interstate highway and a big box center...a bit closer to the former...
                The Dude abides.

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(triggercut1 @ Oct 27 2005, 06:01 AM) Quoted post

                  The owners of that property were told 9 months ago that their property would be appraised and purchased via eminent domain. If they made no arrangements other than to squat and fight during that time, they're just being stupid.

                  There are also only a couple of families who maintain a primary residence on this property--the rest is either deserted, for rent, or otherwise in use. One delusionary soul was on TV here yesterday talking about the historical significance of his property and how he was "fixing it up" and "remodeling" it to re-open as a bed and breakfast. It sounds good until you realize the area there at Anacostia is an absolute hellhole of urban blight; it'd be like talking about opening a bread and breakfast on the North Side in St. Louis. "Gosh, can't wait to spend a lovely weekend there!"

                  That area of The District is a blight; while I sympathize with anyone losing property in this manner, what the article doesn't tell you is that none of that property is sale-able; if someone in that area were to put their property and "house" up for $50,000, they wouldn't be able to move it in this market, so undesirable is the area (and I don't mean necessarily crime-ridden or lacking in services, although both things are problems there; the area is totally off any beaten path as well; it'd be like property owners north of the city workhouse in that blighted warehouse district in St. Louis just inside the riverfront having their property seized via ED...no one fucking goes to this area and across the Anacostia river from it is a dingy swamp). The owners will receive for that property an estimated 4 times it's sale-able value. In this crazy housing market, it won't get you a mansion in Pentagon City, but it will allow any of the primary-residence occupants to relocate to a nicer area here rather comfortably, and will compensate the remaining dozen or so property owners there handsomely for a property investment that had no value at all.
                  [/b][/quote]

                  ++

                  The government is doing them a _favor_ in moving them away from that shithole.
                  Your friends list is empty

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 27 2005, 02:18 PM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(Moon Man @ Oct 27 2005, 06:55 AM) Quoted post
                    Didn't hear a lot of outrage about Kirkwood annexing Meacham Park and taking all of those folks' property for Sam's and Lowe's.

                    Moon [/b][/quote]



                    consider me outraged
                    [/b][/quote]

                    Duly noted. Little late ain'cha?

                    Moon

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm only one person
                      Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 27 2005, 04:18 PM) Quoted post

                        I'm only one person
                        [/b][/quote]

                        [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cubs.gif[/img]

                        Moon

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 27 2005, 06:38 AM) Quoted post

                          and adult-oriented businesses.
                          [/b][/quote]
                          Just another way Bush is fighting pron
                          Official 2014-15 Lounge Sponsor of Jori Lehterä
                          "He'll Finnish You Off"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I was talking to one of my regulars about this today.

                            Of the remaining properties to be seized by Eminent Domain, *none* are primary residences. Those who were living in the area jumped at the chance to Get The Fuck Out for 3 times the assessed property value of their homes and an estimated 5 times the saleability value.

                            Some folks got burned though. Seems like when the DC Council announced the Anacostia corridor as the future home of the Nationals, real estate investors came swarming in like roaches to buy up the cheap, undervalued property in the area. Most of 'em got lucky--when the new stadium opens, they're sitting on prime real estate to develop. A few got screwed--once the final plans on where the stadium would sit were released, some of those speculators had bought land smack dab in the middle of the stadium site. Oops.

                            In the case of the trash depot--their claim that the property is worth 8 times it's appraised value is based on the fact that a speculator offered them that...and was turned down because the trash company wanted to make their own goldmine there. Instead, when their property was actually revealed to be on the site of the future stadium, they were stuck with the city's offer of 2.5 times the appraised value....and they're pissed and want more. Cry me a river.

                            Right now the property holders there are folks seeing the land values adjacent to theirs skyrocket in preparation for the new stadium going up, and they're jealous of that piece of pie. Living in an area where the median price for a single family dwelling is upwards of $800,000, you'll have to forgive me if I'm not all worked up about some real estate speculators only getting a small profit instead of a large one.
                            I like cheese.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm on triggercut's side here: the land is a waste, so who cares?

                              Progress is a fear that grips STL and I guess it does in other cities, too...

                              "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                              Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
                              -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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