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Using Eminent Domain Against the Poor

Written By: ECJ Staff  |  Posted: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Here is an interesting article from The Huffington Post on a recent example of a local government oppressing the poor through eminent domain seizure of their properties - all for the purpose of increasing their tax-base.

By Dan Wang - Huffington Post

     "The clash between the township of Mount Holly and the working-class, mostly minority residents of this neighborhood of rowhouses has dragged on for 10 years. The township wants to give the land to a private developer. The residents want to remain in the homes they've owned for decades. And the prospect of an ending to the dispute has just gone a little further out of sight. In June, the township filed a Supreme Court petition to request a hearing on the decade-long redevelopment case. At stake are not only the legal implications of the Fair Housing Act, but also the fate of a township strapped for cash, residents uncertain about where they'll live and a neighborhood that has literally been torn apart by the local government.

     "Mount Holly Gardens, which lies just outside of Philadelphia, was built in the 1950s to house veterans returning from World War II and their families. It grew to be a close-knit community, but faced the common working-class neighborhood problems of crime, absentee landlords and poor maintenance. Minorities made up 75 percent of the development by 2000, and the typical resident lived on a low income. In 2002, Mount Holly Township declared the 30-acre development "blighted," and began negotiations to purchase the rowhomes. The government planned to sell the land to a private developer in Philadelphia to build 228 apartments and 292 townhomes. There were 329 working-class homes prior to the plan. If it's completed, 56 units in the new complex will be reserved for low-income housing. Many residents won't be able to afford the new townhouses or apartments. So those who didn't want to relocate filed a lawsuit soon afterwards in 2002."

Take a grain of salt and read more at The Huffington Post.

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