Land Seizures and Compensation

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott Strang, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Hello All

    I was reading the story about the Flight 93 memorial and the possible seizure of the land from the owner and I was unclear about something.

    If the land is seized from the person or company that currents owns it will they be given any kind of monetary compensation.

    I thought that seizing something meant confiscation and no compensation. But what I seem to be reading eludes to the owners of such seized land are being compensated.

    Can someone clear this up for me? With the cross section of people on this board I figured someone will know.

    Thanks
     
  2. Quincy

    Quincy Stunt Coordinator

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    They would probably take it under eminent domain and just pay the man what ever fair market value is on it.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Now, in some cases the notion of what constitutes a "public use" gets contentious, but the United 93 memorial shouldn't be one of them.
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It is a siezure, rather than a sale, because the people ceding the land don't have a choice in the matter. Yes, they are compensated, but they can't say "No" and they can't bargain for a better price.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I'm guessing what Qunicy answered : They would probably take it under eminent domain and just pay the man what ever fair market value is on it.

    This happens quite often for prime real estate in large cities near big commercial districts where most homeowners sell and the remaining ones who refuse to sell are evicted and paid current market value for their property. It isn't right but that's the law.
     
  6. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I agree. I don't have a problem with seizure for this purpose.
     
  7. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I understood Michael's comments in the opposite manner: a United 93 memorial shouldn't be considered a "public use" worthy of an eminent domain seizure.

    Surely there's a place for a memorial that doesn't requiring taking a man's property, if he'd rather keep it himself?
     
  8. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    DaveF,

    When I first read Michael's comments I read it as you did-- that he didn't agree with seizing the land for the memorial. However, I think what he meant was that there are some contentious cases of "public use" and that a United 93 memorial shouldn't be controversial and will be generally supported.

    Michael can clarify for sure.


    Admittedly, I don't know the details. If it's possible to build the memorial without displacing property owners that's how it should be done. But if that can't be accomplished, I still think it's an acceptable use. Do you know if they are talking about taking empty land (including farmed land), or land with home(s) on it?
     
  9. Stan

    Stan Producer
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    This may not fall under the typical eminent domain takeovers like freeways, schools, etc. but if there were ever a reason for an exception to the rule, this certainly qualifies.
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Flight 93 crashed in a farmer's field in Pennsylvania. I presume the memorial is going up in that field. It's probably so filled with debris and toxics (think hydraulic fluid) that it wouldn't be great for farming in the future anyway.

    EDIT http://www.nps.gov/flni I forgot that there would be tiny body fragments scattered all over the field too.
     
  11. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    You're probably right, Dennis. I can't imagine too many people objecting to this anyway.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    United Flight 93 crashed into a farmer's field. The memorial is to be located at the site of the crash. The landowner, Tim Lambert, donated six acres in the immediate vicinity of the crash. The families of the victims used their share of the United 93 grosses to buy an additional 3 acres at the site. An additional 1,000 acres of land around the crash site was acquired by the families as "buffer" soon after. More land deals have followed, each negotiated in good faith with the land owner and resolved amicably to everyone's satisfaction. The largest remaining chunk of land left to be acquired is a 275 acre plot owned by Svonavec Inc, a stone and coal-mining corporation based out of Somerset, PA. This is not a case of Big Brother stepping on a small, humble farmer. Svonavec had used the land for surface mining before September 11. Now, however, the land is used to monetize the crash site, though "donations" to the corporation. The compensation being offered by the families would apparently offset the value of the land for surface mining, but not for owning a unique chunk of history that will be a cash cow for years to come.
     
  13. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I don't agree or disagree with the seizing of the land. I literally have no opinion on the subject.

    What I meant was that, purely as a matter of legal interpretation, it would be difficult to argue that a memorial to the victims of United 93 would not be a "public use" within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment. I was thinking of the definition of "public use" adopted by the narrow majority in the Supreme Court's controversial Kelo decision (noted by Adam Lenhardt above). Even before Kelo, the memorial would have been considered a "public use", and I suspect it would pass muster even in states that have adopted stricter tests in the aftermath of Kelo. (I don't recall whether Pennsylvania is one of them.)
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That's good to hear. My concern, based on the initial post, was that the aftermath of a terrible tragedy and loss of life would then be the forcible seizure of private property. It doesn't seem to "honor" a person by taking from another against their will in such a way.

    But my argument is a moo point.
     
  15. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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  16. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    That's why many people have a problem with that particular Supreme Court ruling.
     
  17. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    I believe the increased tax revenues flowing into the "public" coffers is the rationale.... twisted, but government is hardly logical (or fair).
     

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