Friday, January 19, 2018
MoCo Council asking Annapolis for eminent domain-on-steroids land grab power
The bill, like the others, is being filed at the eleventh hour, and with no fanfare. Bill MC 27-18, "Eminent Domain - Expansion of 'Quick Take' Authority," would streamline the property seizure process related to highway and transit projects. For example, it would eliminate the ability to compare a property to similar pieces of land for the purpose of determining fair market value. The Council would also be able to force residents out of homes, and businesspeople out of commercial properties immediately, as long as they make an immediate payment of that potentially less-than-actual market value to the landowner.
Purple Line opponents suspect the law may be used in short order for eminent domain seizures related to that light rail project. That would fit the "heckuva rush" manner in which it is being put forward in Annapolis.
But looking ahead, this law would be equally handy in the quick demolition of more than 150 homes and businesses along Georgia Avenue between Olney and Wheaton, for the planned BRT route there. We know that from a state analysis, but we don't have similar numbers yet for which properties would end up being seized for BRT along MD 355 and Route 29. How might this also be used in the Veirs Mill Corridor sector plan, which is about to begin the process of approval before the Montgomery County Planning Board? Land seizures along Veirs Mill have been strongly hinted at by planners.
The late-filed bill will be introduced at the 9:30 AM session of the Montgomery County Delegation this morning. If the bill receives the necessary votes to advance, a public hearing will be scheduled. One question will be: will that hearing be held in Rockville, or Annapolis?
It's no wonder they held this bill from you, despite planning it for months, and are now attempting to file it quietly at the last minute!