Rewarding our bum landlords

This is something that I have been stewing about for sometime. It is the issue of eminent domain, and how I feel that the recent court cases are setting a dangerous precedent that will, in the long run, harm cities chances of revival and ultimately reward those bum landlords and tenants of the world.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are surely some instances where the property owner is completely legit in their stance and should not be forced from their home. But most of the time you end up with the logical/sane people selling and moving out, and the others just waiting to prey on the potential investors. This is where I get upset.

We live in a capitalistic market right??? Then shouldn’t we be rewarding the individual who is willing to take a risk on a project rather than rewarding the jerk who sat on some property for years and let it go to crap? With eminent domain you are typically offered higher than appraised value for your property, if that isn’t enough the potential investor is typically willing to up the ante. But for some, that still isn’t enough…they must thoroughly suck out as much as they can and send the redevelopment project into the red.

So you then have an investor who was interested in investing in an inner-city neighborhood who is now fed up and ready to build on a greenfield out in the exurbs. Who wins here…the neighborhood who had a few members stand up and say NO…the investor who lost a lot of money up front on a project that is no more…the municipality that may benefit from increased tax revenue and prestige of a major investment…or is it the few individuals that stood up for “property rights?”

This is a classic Lose, Lose, Lose, Win scenario…it’s great to see it happen before my very own eyes.

A couple recent cases in Cincinnati:
Cincinnati v. Clif Cor Co. (Calhoun Street)
Cincinnati v. Dimasi (Dixmyth Avenue)
Norwood v. Horney (Rookwood Exchange)

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.