Eminent Domain, two words you may have only heard once or twice. Private property, that must be taken, for public use, and with just compensation. No one wants to be a victim of Eminent Domain, meaning you must relinquish your private property to the state, municipality, corporation or private person to exercise functions of public character after being “justly” compensated.
One Pennsylvania family in the Cumberland Valley School District is facing off with the school district as the district enforces Eminent Domain. The school district has plans to construct a new middle school in 2016 and the Groff’s family property is falling victim to this decision. The school conducted two different appraisals on the property and are now in negotiations with the Groff family for the monetary value of their property.
There is much more than the property at stack when a family is involved in a case of Eminent Domain. Not only will they lose their home and be forced to move, there’s the stress of being displaced and the memories that the property holds that will be destroyed in the process. This form of controversial landgrab has been used as early as biblical times. State governments and municipalities can enforce eminent domain just for widen the roads, supplying water, or build a school, in which case families will lose all or part of their property and be forced to relocate.
What makes the Groff case even more frustrating is the fact there is farm land directly across the street from their home which could suffice as the new middle school building location.
At any moment, what you thought was yours can be taken away, and it may be at a price that you do not deem fair and just. Homes are where memories are made, where families grow, and sometimes generation pass and these homes and properties are still part of the family dynamic.
How can you put a price tag on the intangible? If your local government were to enforce Eminent Domain, what would you lose?