Property rights of homeowners disregarded by government

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    Many residents in Arlington recently learned that they probably won’t be allowed to stay in their houses. Three found out their house and properties have been condemned, meaning the city will force them to move unless they take the city to court, The Dallas Morning News reported a few weeks ago.

    This is occurring because of two little words: eminent domain.

    Eminent domain gives a city or state the power to take private property owned by normal citizens for its use without the owner’s consent.

    The city of Arlington and the Dallas Cowboys are teaming up to build a new stadium, which is expected to open in time for the 2009 season.

    The only problem that stands in the way of the Cowboy’s future home – a few houses and people.

    The devised solution: Attempt to pay off the people with homes Arlington wants to tear down. If people refuse to accept payment in exchange for their property, the city will declare the houses condemned.

    Either way, residents will be forced to move, and there are few options available for them.

    The city defends its actions by saying that people will be paid fair market value for the properties and often times are reimbursed for moving costs.

    However, several residents disagree. One said the amount wouldn’t even pay off his mortgage.

    You might be asking, how exactly does this affect me?

    The answer is quite simple.

    Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court released an opinion giving cities the leeway to condemn properties for economic development. This means that once a city decides it wants your property to build something for the “good” of the city, it can condemn your house and force you to move.

    Eminent domain cuts into our rights as citizens because we expect certain freedoms while we live in the United States, and the Constitution is supposed to guard our freedoms.

    Personally, I expect the right to own property and to not worry about the government seizing it. If the government says we don’t have to quarter soldiers, why should we have to give up our homes to build a stadium?

    I most definitely wouldn’t want to come home one day and find my house torn down and a parking lot in its place because the city of Fort Worth decided its residents needed more parking or a new stadium.

    Bottom line: It’s wrong to force people out of their homes because you want to build a stadium on their property. The city of Arlington and the Cowboys administration should have thought about that before deciding to build a stadium near Ameriquest Field in Arlington.