44. Eminent Domain

The owner of property acquired through the power of eminent domain should be compensated with more than the fair market value of the property. Depending on several things like the willingness of the owner to sell the property, the amount of time the owner has owned or has been living on the property, the amount of ‘history’ the owner has experienced on the property (raising a family, got married on the property, etc.), maybe up to twice or even as much as three or four times the fair market value of the property should be offered in some cases. The courts should be the final arbiters for determining the actual amount awarded to property owners. Standardized guidelines should be created and consulted so that the courts and everyone else involved could have a general idea regarding how much of an economic value each ‘historical’ event that took place on the property would be worth.

Governments should only be allowed to use their powers of eminent domain to purchase properties for public ownership and for public uses. However, governments could, without using its powers of eminent domain, voluntarily purchase properties for any use, including with the intention of reselling it to private developers, if the governments and current property owners could come to a negotiated agreement over the purchase price.

If, properties obtained through the powers of eminent domain, were later decided to not be used for public purposes, then, before such non-public uses are permitted, the original owners should be given the priority to exercise the option of repurchasing the land at current market prices.

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