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New Mexico gets it right on private property rights

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Among the provisions contained in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is the provision that no one “may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken away without due compensation.” It shall not be made available for public use.” This concept is called the Eminent Domain. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, eminent domain is the right of people or governments to acquire private property for public use.

Historically, eminent domain has allowed state, federal, and local governments to acquire property without consent from individual owners only when used for large public projects such as highways, railroads, and schools. has been used for Or to restore a dilapidated area, so long as the owner receives “just compensation”. It sounds simple enough, but there’s more to the story. Just ask Suzette Kerro.

Kello, a registered nurse who purchased a small pink house in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Connecticut in 1997, decided in 2000 that the City of New London would dedicate her property to make room for large-scale private development. was told that it had decided to seize the Essentially, the city was using eminent domain to take property from one individual and transfer it to another individual (a developer in her case). Keros objected and sued the city. The now-famous case was Kello vs. the City of New London.

After losing the district and appeals courts, the Keros appealed the decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court. It lost there as well, so the ruling was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2004, the High Court ruled in her narrow 5-4 ruling that local governments could actually seize people’s residential properties and businesses for private economic development. This ruling effectively changed the definition of “public use” to “public interest.” The “good” is the increased taxes and jobs created by the new development.

The court also ruled that individual states have the power to pass laws limiting denunciations. As a result, state legislatures across the country, including here in New Mexico, have taken action. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that, in the decade since this decision, 45 states have enacted eminent domain reform laws.

In 2006, the New Mexico legislature passed House Bill 746, limiting the use of eminent domain. Not liking the wording of the bill, then-Governor Richardson vetoed it and formed a special commission to study the issue. In 2007, both houses of Congress removed eminent domain from the state’s Metropolitan Redevelopment Act and replaced it with what many called one of our nation’s most powerful reforms against private land acquisition. passed.

Well-known domain incidents are not a recent phenomenon. One of the earliest examples of eminent domain in New Mexico occurred in 1945 when the federal government seized almost 90% of his 150,000-acre WW Cox Ranch. A ranch that has existed since the late 1800s was used to create the White Sands Missile Range.

Thanks to the efforts of our legislature, developers can no longer use unique domains to acquire our property and use them for private development.

See you at the closing ceremony!

Gary Sandler is a full-time Realtor and owner of Gary Sandler Inc., a Las Cruces Realtor.He loves answering questions, 575-642-2292 or [email protected].

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