Boulder City Magazine® September 2006 Issue
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish
Property Owners' Rights - Let The Voter Beware
Eminent domain is the power of government to take property for public use, subject to just compensation. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the use of eminent domain to purchase residential property and sell it to a private developer. (Kelo vs. New London). Since then, Congress and many state legislatures have taken action to curb that questionable practice.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Some Nevada lawyers are exploiting justified concerns about the Kelo situation by proposing a multi-faceted amendment to the Nevada Constitution entitled the “Nevada Property Owners Bill of Rights.” If this initiative petition survives court challenges, it will appear on our ballot for the November election. The authors have cleverly focused media attention on the one part of the initiative which would prohibit Kelo takings for redevelopment. However, there are 13 other sections in the proposal which have nothing to do with Kelo situations and which, according to the Clark County D.A., will result in the following:
1. Taxpayers and motorists will suffer and a few trial lawyers and their clients will gain due to massive increases in right-of-way costs for public road and highway projects.
2. By allowing lawsuits for any government action which results in economic loss to private property, the initiative would create a radical new rule which imposes unlimited exposure to liability for state and local government for any legislation, ordinance, zoning decision, road building, location of bus stops or traffic signals, denial of undesirable strip clubs, adult bookstores or casinos near residential neighborhoods, or any other legitimate government activity in Nevada. State and local government would be either paralyzed or bankrupted, while trial lawyers are enriched at taxpayer expense. Boulder City’s growth controls could be jeopardized by this provision.
The devil is in the details, and the details of this proposal threaten the rights of Nevada property owners and taxpayers.
Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish. Visit his website at www.juww.com.
P.O. Box 61901
Boulder City, Nevada 89006
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