Eminent Domain is always ugly.
This is a discussion on OMG are you serious Federal Govt??? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial | National news | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial By ...
Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial | National news | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial
By DAN NEPHIN Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
May 7, 2009, 8:57AM
PITTSBURGH — The government will begin taking land from seven property owners so that the Flight 93 memorial can be built in time for the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the National Park Service said.
In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the park service said it had teamed up with a group representing the victims' families to work with landowners since before 2005 to acquire the land.
"But with few exceptions, these negotiations have been unsuccessful," said the statement.
Landowners dispute that negotiations have taken place and say they are disappointed at the turn of events.
The seven property owners own about 500 acres still needed for what will ultimately be a $58 million, 2,200-acre permanent memorial and national park at the crash site near Shanksville, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
"We always prefer to get that land from a willing seller. And sometimes you can just not come to an agreement on certain things," park service spokesman Phil Sheridan said.
"Basically, at this point, we have not been able to acquire all the land we need," he said.
Even with willing sellers, Sheridan said title questions, liens and other claims can arise that would have to be worked out and could delay the project.
"We had a group of people who took some very heroic actions. It's just fitting and right that we get this done in time for the 10th anniversary," he said.
The next step will be for the U.S. Justice Department to file a complaint in federal court. A court would have to decide the matter and would set a value on the land.
Two owners account for about 420 acres the park service plans to condemn, including Svonavec Inc. — which owns 275 acres, including the impact site where 40 passengers and crew died. About 150 acres are owned by a family that operates a scrap yard.
Most of rest of the land to be condemned are small parcels, two of which include cabins.
Tony Kordell said the park service visited him late Friday afternoon and made him an offer for his 150 acres. He declined to give the price, but said his attorney requested the appraisal used to determine the value on Monday.
He's not gotten that appraisal, he said Thursday. On Wednesday, he was told the park service would condemn the land.
The property Kordell owns includes the scrap yard, which must be relocated and he said cost to move the business also hasn't been determined. The property includes where the visitor center, parking lot and park walkways will be placed, he said.
"We've been working with (the park service) all along. We've given them rights to come on the property" to do planning, he said.
"All it's going to do is cost a huge amount of money for attorneys," he said.
Randall Musser owns about 62 acres that the park service wants to acquire.
"They apologized about the way it's come together, but what's sad is they had all these years to put this together and they haven't," he said.
Musser served on the committee that helped establish the park's boundaries and said landowners were promised in 2002 that eminent domain would not be used.
"It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres — land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.
"To the best of my knowledge and my lawyer, absolutely no negotiations have taken place with the park service where we've sat down and discussed this," Lambert said.
Lambert said he had mainly dealt with the Families of Flight 93 and said he's provided the group all the information it's asked for, including an appraisal.
While he knew that condemnation was a possibility, he thought it was an unlikely scenario and that the park service and family group had wanted to acquire the larger parcels before dealing with owners of smaller properties.
"I was never told that May was the drop-deadline," he said.
Patrick White, the vice president of Flight 93 Families, welcomed the park service's action and had planned to ask for it at an upcoming meeting with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
"We appreciate the timely nature of this decision, which will keep us on the timetable for the tenth year dedication of the permanent memorial," he said in a statement.
Sheriden said condemnation is rarely used. The last time the park service used it, he said, was to acquire a tower at the Gettysburg battlefield in 2000. The tower was demolished to return the battlefield to the way it looked in 1863.
In February, government officials and representatives of the 33 passengers and seven crew members killed when the plane crashed on Sept. 11, 2001, pledged to dedicate a memorial on the site by the 10th anniversary. Officials said then that more than 80 percent of the needed land had been secured.
United Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was diverted by hijackers with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol. The official 9/11 Commission report said the hijackers crashed the plane as passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit.
WOW!!! Look, I am just as pissed off about 9/11 even occurring, it is sad, tragic and downright horrible. BUTTTT...WHAT THE HECK is the Federal Government/National Park Service doing trying to take away peoples land? More importantly...they REALLLLY need 3.4 sq miles for a 9/11 memorial? No wonder negotiations have failed! I understand the grief, but we need to move on people!
Downright waste of money and a gross abuse of Eminent Domain!
Just for some perspective...Walt Disney World (in Fl) is just over 1000 acres.
Eminent Domain is always ugly.
As for the size of the memorial, my guess is that part of the motivation is to get a bit of a buffer zone around the memorial itself. You don't want someone putting up a tacky gift shop right next to it.
Thank you Gubment...can i have another. Land of the Free..yea right.
We can't even show the footage of 911 on TV because it will offend some people, and now the GOV is going to "steal" land to make a memorial?
I don't like it.
What's it going to be? a tourist attraction??
WAIT.....It will be.....in twentyfive years the descendants of the hi-jackers will flock here to show their children where the glorious martyrs struck one of the blows against the old USA in the beginning of the end for the US.
This memorial will work both ways.
"Don't be afraid to see what you see.
I dont live too far from it and doubt I'll ever visit the site.
3/320th Field Artillery
3rd brigade RAKKASANS
As nice as it would be to have an appropriate memorial at the actual site, there is something creepily inappropriate about using eminent domain for anything other than building schools, roads, airports, and maybe power transmission lines--things that actually benefit the broad public and are more substantive than "entertainment" in the form of a tourist attraction in the middle of nowhere.
Unfortunately, our Supremes (especially including conservatives) have given governmental entities very very broad powers in this area. No one is safe. A few states have fairly restrictive eminent domain laws of their own, but most would happily take your home if a builder promised to put up something that generated more tax revenue than your property tax.*
This situation may be one the court's most screwy ruling --letting Pfizer collude with New London, CT to expand its business by using eminent domain to seize nearby property.
Shame on all involved, and frankly shame on those on the 9/11 memorial committee who think this is an appropriate thing to be doing.
*In our town the city forced a man out of business because they had grand plans for the area, then the city turned around and sold the property to another private individual for another private business. The original owner lost big in his court challenges. I lost a great deal of respect for our city officials. And they are at it in one form or another all the time, telling folks what they can't do with their property; even when it is not within the actual city limits. The latest scam is a tree ordinance. You need permission to cut them down on your own property.
This isn't even close to being in the same category as Kelo v. New London. A memorial run by the Park Service is clearly public use.
It would give some a nice warm fuzzy feeling but do we need it? If by some stretch of any imagination we need it do we need it bad enough to take private property for it? IMO, the money would be better spent on a fence along our southern border.
Government is out of control
"If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying -- " Sen Orrin G. Hatch
An almost $60M, 2200 acre "memorial" some 60-80 miles outside of Pittsburgh (which lets be honest here, Pittsburgh isn't exactly a top 10, even top 100 place to travel to in the US)...I mean we are talking ultra rural farm country here...is not a responsible or useful use of tax payers money.
Why not a road to the site (or approximate site), some benches, a few columns with names inscribed and the story of what took place...boom...less that a million bucks, almost ZERO upkeep.
OR...why not leave it all alone...as a big F-U!!! to terrorist types...a "yeah, something bad happened here...so what?" We are Americans and damn proud of our county...we pick up where we left off..and continue farming on the land as normal.
I do not mean to downplay what happened in PA, but to be honest, I do not consider the folks who died by the hands of terrorists to be heroes, they are murder victims, that's it. I don't get America's obsession with memorializing every single event that happens. I lost my job over summer...do I deserve a memorial?
If the memorial foundation wishes to build a park/monument on the site I have no problem with it. As long as the landowners are paid fair market value for their property. That also includes the cost of relocating any businesses that are on the land they want. It should also be accomplished with private funding. Not with tax dollars that are needed in other more important places.
After doing my own research on "if it WERE an inside job, how could it have happened" and after doing such, I'm not convinced that this flight even crashed considering the footage of the "crash site".
Furthermore, I boycotted the movie that came out about this flight bc, for one I didn't think it was accurate, and two, I didnt agree with someone making a paycheck off of the "documentary".
Now this?? This is truly ridiculous. The most I think that should be done is a plaque, similar to the one's in the capital, saluting warriors in battle.... and the bottom of the plaque should read,
"...and former President Bush sends his condolences for never having completed the retaliation he set out to do."