We previously blogged about a council member presenting a resolution to acquire private property, also known as land acquisition; as suspected, the City’s main concern is not necessarily to preserve open spaces but to generate income. Read below to learn the details and visit blynchlaw.com to learn more about an Illinois-based law firm that exclusively and successfully represents property owners and their property interests when faced with an agency exercising the power of eminent domain.
As reported on Eco RI News on November 13, 2020, the City Council is keeping alive the possibility of acquiring the Metacomet golf course, which was privately purchased by a company on September 30, 2020. That company has plans to turn the land into a mixed-use development, but the plans are not set, and the property owner has indicated it is open to different uses and even would continue with its current use. The property is currently zoned by the City as an open space.
This was the initial sticking point that prompted Representative Gregg Amore to start a movement called Keep Metacomet Green. However, as it is plainly obvious in recent City Council meeting, the City is not so concerned with its use as an open space as they are concerned with the potential revenue that could be gained by having the property city-owned. Case in point, Council member Ricardo Mourato said, “It’s a gold mine. We’re not thinking outside the box.”
Another fact is that the property scores low as an environmental habitat as ranked by the conservation group The Nature Conservancy. One looming question is that if keeping it an open space was the real priority, couldn’t the city simply pass a resolution to do so? Deny any undesirable zoning applications? The property owner already withdrew its previous application after the backlash. Those methods, and maybe even other ones, could be effective and efficient. As can plainly be seen though, the argument of keeping it an open space as a reason to use their power of eminent domain falls flat as evident by the City Council members’ remarks about the property’s potential to generate income.
The City has passed a request for information (RFI) soliciting businesses or organizations interested in operating a business should the city acquire the land.
Faulkner, Tim. “City Council Supports Taking Metacomet by Eminent Domain.” EcoRI News, EcoRI News, 7 Dec. 2020, www.ecori.org/smart-growth/2020/11/13/eminent-domain. Accessed 17 Nov. 2020.