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 Post subject: Eminent Domain - Campus Partners?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:41 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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In the past, I have given what I believe to be honest opinions to people who may consider moving into the Milo Arts building. Therefore, my comments may not have been overly praising, or gushing. I felt it was my obligation to give those who asked, an honest approval of "what it's like" to have a studio in that building. That being said, I do enjoy life there very much, as do I extremely enjoy the people I have met there, for if it had not been for living there, I would in all likelyhood, know a miniscule fraction of the people in Columbus whom I consider to be friends of mine.

It has come to my attention rather recently that this place: my home, and the home of many others, as well as rehearsal space, and studios for painting, photography, etc., is at risk of being taken away from us under the guise of "eminent domain" law. From what little info I've gathered so far, the culprit of this development is the Campus Partners group. Being that they are the same group who demolished what, 2-4 blocks of High St., I see it as a relatively substantial threat.

The proposed area is between 2nd and 5th aves., and between Cleveland and 71. They are also planning on building where the Timken factory used to be, so I would imagine that in all likelyhood the BLD might not be far behind.

We are having a meeting about this situation on Sunday, so then I'll get more information. It is all very daunting, and frankly I'm disturbed that one of the more unique places in this city, one of the most artist-friendly living/working spaces I've ever encountered is at serious risk of being destroyed for commercial purposes.

I guess at this point, I'm just trying to stir up some interest, or outrage maybe? And also to get any info from anyone who might be familiar with the ins and outs of a situation like this. I know KT works with real estate. Like I said, I'll find out some more over the weekend and post what I find out.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:47 pm 
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wow, this sucks. i guess i should start looking for a new practice space soon, eh?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 12:53 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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I don't know. I'm hoping that there is something that can still be done.

I'll be at the meeting this Sunday to find out more about the logistics and severity of the threat. Maybe we can bring down Turbo and Ozone like in Electric Boogaloo. I know there are a lot of people who have lived there or had friends who've lived there, or practiced there, etc. etc., so hopefully we can drum up some support. So many people that have visited me really love the place, or are at least amazed that something of its ilk exists. Especially outside of someplace like NYC. That's the comparison that I get from most people that tell me how many thousands of dollars my rent would be if I lived anywhere else.

For all of its faults, it really is a great place. Now more than ever, I think it's filled with some really great people, too.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 1:40 pm 
Godzilla
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Check out:

http://www.castlecoalition.org/

There is(was) at least one significant Eminent Domain case before the Supreme Court this session. The landmark Poletown decision was also recently overturned in Michigan:

http://www.freep.com/news/mich/land31_20040731.htm
Quote:
Reversing more than two decades of land-use law, the Michigan Supreme Court late Friday overturned its own landmark 1981 Poletown decision and sharply restricted governments such as Detroit and Wayne County from seizing private land to give to other private users.


also:
http://reason.com/0302/fe.ss.wrecking.shtml


--


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 1:46 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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Thanks a ton, Jawbreaker. Those links are great.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 3:06 pm 
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Campus Partners' sleazyness can only be rivaled by their greed. Let's crusify 'em.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:56 pm 
Godzilla
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Bennett wrote:
I don't know. I'm hoping that there is something that can still be done.

I'll be at the meeting this Sunday to find out more about the logistics and severity of the threat. Maybe we can bring down Turbo and Ozone like in Electric Boogaloo.



creepy, i almost made the same crack . . .

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 2:40 pm 
Godzilla
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It is pretty hard to fight highest and best use, FYI.

If they can prove vast economic improvements, you might be S.O.L.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:13 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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Personally, I rent so I figure one of the only things I can do is make as big of a stink as possible... you know, the whole "make your voice heard" type-of-thing. And Unfortunately, they are citing "vast economical improvements."

Some of the problems I have are: There is plenty of room for development on the old Timken property and other abandoned areas nearby. I have no problem with that. However, it is my opinion, and I think it is well founded, that they want to raze our neighboorhood because of its proximity to 71, and also because of the high "ethnic" population. In their outline, it is proposed that displaced individuals will be compensated or moved to the other side of 71... a community that is NO different from ours. So basically, they want to get all the black people to the other side of the highway. "Out of sight, out of mind." The "improvements" to the lives of people currently in this community would be: relocation, travelling inconveniences, and jobs at bed bath and beyond. The largest part of the proposed development is a strip mall. There is more than enough room for something of that nature on the old Timken property. I am fairly certain that our neighborhood is considered little more than an eyesore, and a potential deterrent to people who may want to shop at their new stores.

Now I have problems with this, also. Sure, it is a bad neighborhood. But has anyone done anything significant to improve it in the past few years I've lived here? Obviously the answer is no. There are multiple boarded up houses that continue to stand and rot, and house who knows what. There are dealers and prostitutes walking the streets every day. If I had a badge I could literally walk out the door and arrest someone for soliciting sex. So how will these thing change if we're moved to the other side of the highway? They won't, but at least they'll be a little further out of the way.

As a minority myself, one of the things I plan on doing is writing a letter to Mayor Coleman to tell him that he needs to "rep him self" (not in those words, of course). I don't know how much good it might do, if any, but its worth the chance and effort.

BTW, the letter and proposal I've seen is from Jereme Solove... I'm not quite sure what his affiliation is.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:45 pm 
Godzilla
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Well, if you don't own the building, you have your work cut out for you. Developers compensate, and many times they compensate well to avoid legal hassles, fees, etc. of trying to go through eminent domain.

Because of the compensation, it is hard ot prove discrimination, etc.

Best of luck.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:19 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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http://www.rent.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:02 am 
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Deep pocket developers can and will do what they need to do to make the deal happen. The money they stand to gain on the improvements will outweigh the uniqueness of the building.

The building is in...shall we say...disrepair, correct? That's one of the reasons it's been targeted.

Your best hope would be for the owner to get some sort of arts funding but that would likely take longer than it will for eminant domain to occur.

Think about it, the developers deal with the city constantly and are right there pump up their project to them face to face. You would be fighting against an existing business relationship between the developer and the city. Check it, my company shells out ASS TONS of money to buy out leases, to make the tenants "go away" so that the property can be developed and generate higher income. Hold outs never last for long. The money will flow to make the project go because it is projected to make so much more. That's just one aspect of the whole process. Chances are, this has been in the works for quite some time. Milo is just one piece of the pie. I'm not really sure you can stop it. Sorry to be a drag.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:39 am 
Godzilla
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man, this reminds me of RoboCop, but suckier. no hope on the building being historical is there?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 10:41 am 
Godzilla
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It might save it, Unpa. Bennett, you can call Randy Black at the Historic Preservation office- 645.6821


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:52 am 
Godzilla
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Historic preservation takes forever.

If they can blight your neighborhood, which I am guessing they can pretty easily, then there really is not anything you can do.

It is called "Highest and Best Use."

We have been in the process of buying 95 houses across from our existing center to expand. There were about 4 houses, (3 businesses and one landlord) who would not sell. After a couple of years, and many appeals, we won eminent domain. The point it, their neighborhood is not ghetto at all, but could be blighted because of interstate proximity and economics. Land in the U.S. is always up for grabs if it is not being used to its highest and best use, meaning money making capacity.

So, if your house was located across the street from Easton, and Easton wanted to buy your neighborhood to expand, they can win eminent domain because the land your house sits on is worth more to the economy as part of a shopping center than as a private residence.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:58 am 
Godzilla
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maybe we can scooby doo some ghost pirates or something to halt this? WTF?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:17 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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Thanks for the historical pres. number. I will add that to my bag of tricks.

I'm pretty torn about this, really. I would of course like something to be done about my neighborhood, and in a way this would be potentially good for the "city in general," but I just have a problem with the way it is being brought about. I mean it will be an improvement to the city, but as far as the neighborhood, it's just being relocated to the other side of the highway. Nothing is going to be resolved as far as the neighborhood goes. Sure there will be new jobs, but I seriously doubt that the gangsta drug dealer is going to want to get a job at The Gap, and I'm pretty sure that Abercrombie and Fitch is not going to hire the hooker that looks like Ron Perlman from the "Beauty and the Beast" TV show. That plus the fact that probably 70% of the neighborhood are renters, so they're all going to be SOL w/o comp. anyway.

I know that they have been working on this for a while behind the scenes. I know that whatever victory we may eke out will probably be only temporary. But like Cameron said, "I gotta take a stand." I'm not going to get too worked up about it, but I'm going to do what I can. It seems like we've got a good plan of action in order as of now, so I'll just see what happens. thanks to everyone for all the info and support.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:45 pm 
Godzilla
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Before you try to cause a stink, you might want to see what the zoning is there. I know a lot of people down here that live in The David Shoe building, Ice Cream Factory and the Mockbee.. All three buildings have studios and practice spaces in there, some people live there...Which is fine and good, but TOTALLY illegal.

The buildings are zoned industrial and while it is not illegal to rent out spaces for work, it is against fire codes for residential living. You might be in this situation, because many people do a "don't ask don't tell" way of renting, by putting a blind eye towards people living there because, they want the money...and it is nearly god damn impossible to change zoning like that..But if they got busted by the fire marshall, they would be screwed.

And your case would be totally bunk.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 2:52 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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Yeah, they went through that a few years ago. We should be good to go on that front.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:33 pm 
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annie oakley wrote:
Before you try to cause a stink, you might want to see what the zoning is there. I know a lot of people down here that live in The David Shoe building, Ice Cream Factory and the Mockbee.. All three buildings have studios and practice spaces in there, some people live there...Which is fine and good, but TOTALLY illegal.

The buildings are zoned industrial and while it is not illegal to rent out spaces for work, it is against fire codes for residential living. You might be in this situation, because many people do a "don't ask don't tell" way of renting, by putting a blind eye towards people living there because, they want the money...and it is nearly god damn impossible to change zoning like that..But if they got busted by the fire marshall, they would be screwed.

And your case would be totally bunk.




The real problem with this is that the goddam government is involved at all. If you want to sleep in a building rated commercial, put in a smoke detector, pay your rent, and go to sleep. How this is any of the City of Columbus' business is completely beyond me. Property rights are less fashionable to worry about than first amendment rights, but they are just as important because they reinforce the autonomy of the individual against the government.

The recent uses to which eminent domain has been put are absolutely outrageous. ED is meant for matters urgently effecting the ability of the state to govern - a legitimate use being building interstates that are capable of supporting military traffic. Within the last few decades more and more developers are using it as a way to legally steal land - campus partners are a notorious example - and when this behaviour is put to a vote - like the Morse road connector - it is resoundingly defeated. Using ED, Donald Trump attempted to run a senior citizen out of her house so he could build a casino parking lot! Even if ED is not used, the threat of it will make the landlord in question more likely to sell out, because he figures resistence is futile; so then the tenants are out on their asses. This is the legacy of "highest and best use;" a revolting land grab by businessmen who want the government to do their dirty work for them. The highest and best use of a property is the use the legitimate owner makes of it - provided he does not harm his neighbours.

If you are right that this is gearing up to be another land grap by the patriots for profit at Campus Partners, and if you have grounds to resist, even if you lose you would be doing the decent and moral thing. When we make it easier for local government to act soley as an extension of selected and agressive local business interests, we deserve what we get.

Good luck


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 10:08 am 
Mechagodzilla
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Regarding the Campus Partners information I was originally given:

The person behind this development is apparently the son of one of the players involved in the Campus Partners high street development.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:14 pm 
Godzilla
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You would have to prove it to be unconstitutional. The government's power to regulate land use is based on the state's police power to pass laws to protect the public health, saftey, morals and general welfare. The Supreme Court has upheld the government's right to impose zoning laws.

Building codes, zoning and environmental laws were created to protect citizens from faulty building materials, misuse of land and environmental hazzards. It was the onset of "skyscrapers" which led to this type of mandating. Too many people were killed in fires or collapsed buildings and something had to be done.

Appropriation is intended for the property to benefit the public. You will generally see this when utility lines and roadways expand. Most people view this as fair and reasonable. It's when eminent domain is exercised in property development that people get upset over it. Stands to reason, they are tearing down homes and businesses. That happens with new roadways, too.

Who is exercising eminent domain? Is it the city? Just curious, what is the intended use for the land?

The city would have had to offer the owner market value and he clearly refused. I'm betting they sent in inspectors to flag code violations and he was given 30 days or so to bring the building up to code. Eminent Domain is used as a last resort when all other attempts have failed. Has the owner been to court in relation to an appropriation lawsuit? He would have to prove that the intended use would not benefit the public. That's nearly impossible to do.

This is how developers get a bad rap as being coldhearted and money hungry. Maybe they are, but no one complains when neighborhoods get cleaned up and crime is reduced. I love High Street and wish to G-d I could walk the length between campus and downtown but I get freakin scared at the type of people who mill around there. Campus Partners and other developers are closing the gap between developed and blighted areas to form a cohesive, usable area. Sure, they're making money off it otherwise they wouldn't do it. But the public has to want it. Developing pockets of land are usually part of big future plans. It may seem unreasonable at the time but eventually it will be completed. These things take time. Personally, I would rather the city take steps to improve our city rather than let it fall into disrepair.

Eminent domain probably is abused in some respects but is it all that surprising? It's your elected officials imposing it.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:44 pm 
Mechagodzilla
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KT,

Although it's probably been in the works for a few years now at least, formally it is still in the whole: Planning and Proposal stage. So no appraisers have visited the neighborhood. Eminent domain being listed as a "last resort" i.e. if somebody doesn't want to sell.

I would like to see the neighborhood cleaned up. My problem is that by forcing people to move, nothing is really being solved. The neighborhood in question will be safer, maybe more "useful," but as it was it will be gone. The people who once lived there will just move somewhere else, and if given fair market value that would in all likelyhood be someplace just as bad. In most cases, since a lot of the people there are renters, they will move without compensation. So the actual problem is just being relocated. While there is quite a fair amount of riff-raff, there actually are some decent people there, who just so happen to be poor.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:52 pm 
Godzilla
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Developers almost always pay well over market value.

It is eminent domain and the state that just give fair market value.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:59 pm 
Godzilla
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annie oakley wrote:
Developers almost always pay well over market value.

It is eminent domain and the state that just give fair market value.


That's right. Don't let the owner get to this point.

Since this is in the planning stages, Milo's owner needs to try to work with the developer so that they can incorporate it into their plans. Convince them that the building is cool and should stay. If the building was pristine, it would have already happened that way. It needs work, badly. The owner lacks the funds to do so. He needs to find it- quick and then go to the developer with a proposal to include the building in their plans.

Get moving on the Historical Preservation tip. You must get the owner to act on these things because it is in his hands... until it isn't.


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