McCaa Uncut: Troubling trend

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by JOHN MCCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on July 9, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Jul 10 at 5:21 PM

DALLAS - This week's "Uncut" commentary is about  a troubling trend nationwide.

Tuesday, WFAA reporter David Schechter reported on a small piece of land located in the middle of the site for the new Dallas Convention Center Hotel area. The city wants it, but it's private property.

The county appraiser values it at $137,000. The city has offered twice that, claiming it can condemn the land and take it for public use like a street or green space.

Carolyn McClain is the owner and said she wants more than that. Right now, she leases her property as a parking lot and has an 83-year lease, over which time she should collect more than $3 million in rent.

The city calls that an inflated price, not the fair market value it's required to pay.

For some reason, private property doesn't seem to be quite as sacred to governments when the owners are just regular folks.

I'm sure you've heard of cases like this, people losing land or homes because somebody has come up with a new use for their property.    

McClain's lawyer points out that the hotel isn't a public use. It's an economic development project - at least that's what the city said when they asked voters to support the $500 million it costs to build it, which could rule out any use of eminent domain.

It is nice to see the hotel going up, lots of jobs. But, McClain shouldn't have to lose a nickel because she had the foresight to hold onto a piece of land the city now wants..

They spent millions building a place for Tom Hicks and Mark Cuban's ball clubs to play, why not justly compensate her?

Politicians love to brag about economic development deals, McClain should too.

My thoughts, tell me yours: jmccaa@wfaa.com
 

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