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Eminent Pain

Eminent domain is on the loose, but lawmakers are out to rein it in. As a matter of fact, according to UPI, 39 states want to limit the federal government's power to confiscate private property and turn it over to developers for the sake of "economic progress." This is crucial to a business like self-storage, which could easily fall prey in this little hunt.


Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London, Conn., which wished to seize several working-class homes and give the land to a private developer. Turns out pharmaceutical company Pfizer wanted to build a hotel/marina/health club. Thanks to eminent domain, it got its wish.


But there is hope. Alabama, Delaware and Texas have passed laws to limit ED, and another 36 states have proposed related legislation and amendments. In today's Arizona news, we see legislators pushing to add matching House and Senate measures to the November ballot as early as this week, which will ask voters to halt ED abuse by city governments.


As I read through the news history of this critical issue, I see ED proponents argue the practice has had positive effects. For example, they claim it has paved the way for interstate highways, energy resources and other "public benefits." Two Phoenix mayors expressed concern that the proposed Arizona ED measures go beyond the issue at hand and could potentially lead to lawsuits involving any zoning decisions that affect property value.


Some of our readers may agree, though I've yet to encounter a storage operator who wasn't at least concerned about this threat. What are your thoughts here? I'd love to hear from storage owners who may be grappling with a current ED issue.


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