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Eminent Domain Task Force Disagrees Definition of Blight

November 3, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

In its second-to-last meeting, The Missouri Task Force on Eminent Domain continued to discuss the definition of blight.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Governor Matt Blunt formed the task force to discuss Missouri's Eminent Domain Laws. A key issue involved in the discussion surrounds the definition of blighted property.

Task Force member Chris Goodson, a St. Louis developer, says he is comfortable with the current definition.

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"What I think is happening, what I see needs to be done is some reforms in the procedure of Eminent Domain. Therefore, you'll see that blight has been defined at the beginning but now the process needs to be reformed."

Senator Chuck Gross, a Republican from St. Charles, is also on the task force.

Gross says the definition of blight needs reform.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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A member of the Missouri Task force on Eminent Domain says if the task force doesn't address blight, the legislature will.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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During its second-to-last meeting, the Missouri Task Force on Eminent Domain debated whether or not changes are needed in the current definition of blighted property.

In order to condemn property, the state must first deem it blighted.

Task Force member, Senator Chuck Gross, a Republican from St. Charles says even if the task force doesn't address blight, it will be an issue next legislative session.

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"Will we change it? That depends on the votes, and where they're at. But there's no doubt it will be debated in the legislature. So if this task force wants to have any input, now's their time."

The task force will report its recommendations to Governor Matt Blunt at the end of the year.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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The Missouri Task Force on Eminent Domain could not agree whether low ball offers are a real concern for farmers.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Some farmers complain developers are not offering them sufficient compensation for their land.

The task force discussed the issue of low ball offers, but opinions were mixed.

Task Force member Senator Chuck Gross, a Republican from St. Charles, says he is concerned about low ball offers.

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"I don't know how prevalent they are, but it doesn't really matter. We should set the law to protect in the worse case scenario in this area, so that a property owner is protected from that."

But the Task Force did tentatively agree that Eminent Domain laws should not be used on farmland for economic redevelopment.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.