I grew up in Scituate, Massachusetts, a New England town governed by town meeting (specifically, open town meeting), which is quite possibly the closest thing to pure, unadulterated democracy in the world.
I'm very pleased to see Article 28 on the agenda for the upcoming annual town meeting:
General Bylaw Eminent Domain
To see if the Town will vote to amend its General Bylaws by adding the following new bylaw:
The Private Policy Protection Act of 2006
The authority of the Town of Scituate and its agencies of local government, as reserved to localities under Chapter 79 of the Massachusetts General Law, to seize privately owned parcels against the expressed will of the owner through the use of eminent domain procedures, shall, in light of Kilo [sic] vs. New London, be specifically further limited as follows:
- To only those proposed taking actions incorporating the transfer of private parcel(s) to the Town of Scituate or any of its authorized agencies of local government and under no circumstances to another private party, and;
- To only those proposed taking actions whose purpose is the creation of a facility for actual public use and ownership and never for the purposes of economic development or the enhancement of the local tax base.
- Nothing in the bylaw shall limit the authority of the Town of Scituate or its authorized agencies of local government to seize property that is endangering the health and safety of its residents or which could otherwise be seized or foreclosed upon for tax delinquency in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 60 of the Massachusetts General Laws.
Sponsored By: Ten Registered Voters
I hope it passes!