What I've never understood about eminent domain is why there's a greater government "right" to force the poor off of their land than to force the wealthy off of theirs? The only principle that seems firmly established thereby is a dubious "right by might" where the government won't face as big a chance of backlash against them from the poor as they might from the wealthy. Why shouldn't the person who lives on his little lot in his small home be as protected against eminent domain as the wealthier living in his mansion upon his larger estate?
The problem is everything is reversed in people's thinking from what it used to be. Private property used to be highly respected, whereas government property was looked on as community owned. Used to be eminent domain was instituted because private property rights were so strong there had to be a way to insure at least basic infrastructure could be expanded when needed. Taking private property in order to transfer to another private owner totally destroys the whole concept and rights of private ownership. The ONLY reason eminent domain should EVER be used is for government use of land.
I'd love to see a law that any government land to be disposed of should give the prior owners or their descendants a "first right" of purchase, if it's been held by the government for less than a certain number of years, such as 20 years. Furthermore, the law should set the price during that time to be the same as the government originally paid for it. I'd also see "pass through" sales banned, making such sale a constructive government purchase for purposes of such a law, in order to keep the government from trying to find a way around it. Such a law would force the government to think more about what land they took and also not to profit from it's taking from a sale in the near future, but provide those who suffered the "taking" a chance to make something back in the future on that land by purchasing it back if the government decided to dispose of it for the same price they were paid and then profiting from the resale or the resumed use of the property.
It's looking more like something may need forcing on the federal level to stop this increased expansion of eminent domain power caused lately by the federal court rulings. I like the small town concept of property rights, where in the past, less now, you often saw a very nice place, even a mansion and the neighbors were often living in much more humble abodes, all side by side.
This whole idea that seems so prevalent today that each neighbor must emulate, sometimes almost exactly, the same style home and floor space and match in most ways those of his neighbors, lest anyone impact their property values "negatively" I find to be communistic in its approach. I look on Zoning for the most part as a communist concept, intended to weaken the rights of property owners and give more power over property to the government.
Look at all those expensive condos built all along the beaches in Florida. To me they are the world's worst eyesores, more so than the guy down some street that might live in a smaller home on a smaller lot than I do. I consider those condos as a "blight" upon the landscape more than almost anything else. Just because they aren't an economic "blight" but a boon to the taxbase, they seem to have more property rights than some poor person's "eyesore".
I think this expansion of eminent domain is directly related to the expansion of unnecessary Zoning laws and their enforcement. We need to get back to sectional zoning and leave it there. Sectional zoning assigns areas for different industry, for residential, for business. Zoning, and now eminent domain is used to zone out the poor, to keep pushing them further away so they don't have to be seen.
I'm beginning to think we shouldn't even have property taxes on residential property at all. It gives the excuse for excessive zoning. Anytime a poor homeowner is told he must do something to improve his property that he is financially unable to do, it is oppression, it is a violation of his rights as a property owner. We've moved so far away from the concept of property rights that now we see this odious perversion of eminent domain being used, and blessed by the courts, to put all of us at risk of losing our property rights.