• Heritage Value and Eminent Domain
  • April 16, 2015 | Author: Gregory F. Servodidio
  • Law Firm: Pullman & Comley, LLC - Hartford Office
  • The famous case of Kelo v. New London decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2003 eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which rendered its decision in 2005. The lesson of Kelo was that governmental entities could take property by eminent domain for development by private entities even if no direct public purpose was served other than improving the local economy.

    Following the Supreme Court’s decision,, more than 40 states adopted legislation to restrict governmental eminent domain powers, Connecticut among them. Indeed, as Alan M. Weinberger and Michael Brain note in the fall 2013 issues of the Appraisal Journal, “the majority opinion in Kelo expressly invited state legislators to enact additional restrictions on the exercise of (their) takings powers.”

    Connecticut’s statutory revisions were relatively minor.

    Several states went quite far in rewarding property owners who held title for a lengthy period of time with a bonus upon a taking. “Homestead” property was also given preferential valuation consideration.

    It may be reasonably doubted whether paying longevity bonuses to property owners in eminent domain proceedings is a sound way to trim governmental condemnation powers. Critics argue that requiring payments in excess of fair market value makes little sense except to enrich property owners at the expense of the public purse.