October 19, 2005

Kelo-New London Update: City Severs Ties with Development Authority

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

I’m not there, so I can’t know for sure, but especially since this in a non-local paper, this seems big, VERY big (bolds are mine):

New London severs ties with development authority

NEW LONDON, Conn. — The city council has voted to sever ties with the quasi-public development authority at the center of a national debate over eminent domain powers.

The council voted 6-0 Monday night to revoke the designation of the New London Development Corp. as the city’s “implementing agency” for its Fort Trumbull development. The agency has guided the $73 million state-funded project since its inception in 1998.

The U.S. Supreme Court sparked a national debate in June when it ruled the development authority had the power to take homes for the private development project.

But the development corporation angered state and local officials by sending orders to vacate to five Fort Trumbull residents living on the property that the developer wants for a hotel and office space.

State officials had asked municipalities to hold off on property seizures until the legislature considers changing the state’s eminent domain laws.

City officials asked the development authorities’ two leaders to resign, but they declined. They did rescind the orders to vacate under pressure from Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

But council members said they could no longer deal with an agency that disregared the city’s rights as a development partner and the wishes of the community.

“I don’t think you can continue a partnership where there’s only one partner saying, ‘I’m willing to go back and forth,’ and the other’s saying, ‘I’ve heard you, but I’m going the other way,”‘ Councilor Rob Pero said.

The council also voted Monday to demand the agency transfer title to all its real estate in the project area to the city of New London. That includes the former Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Fort Trumbull, which was transferred by the U.S. government to the development authority, not the city.

“I think we’re divorced,” Mayor Jane Glover said.

The future of the homes and the development project is unclear.

It must be pretty lonely at the NLDC offices these days.

Three words from California Yankee at RedState.org: “What a mess.”

UPDATE: Will Brady shows us a picture.

UPDATE 2: Here I thought all along that Pfizer was up-front about the fact that they’re involved and interested in the Kelo outcome. In an e-mail, Todd Zywicki at Volokh pointed me to this piece at the Health Care Renewal blog referring to a New London Day article (requires registration and will be unavailable on October 23) that conclusively shows that Pfizer expected NLDC to do their eminent-domain job and clean up the neighborhood as a condition of building the research facility on adjacent non-eminent-domain land. “Public use” indeed.

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