Uncut: The problem with private eminent domain

Is there really such a thing as private property for the middle class?

This week, News 8's Jobin Panicker detailed a story of future development of a tollway by a private company with the power of eminent domain. That really makes you wonder.

The road in question would stretch 28 miles from Greenville to Garland.

I'm all for development. It means jobs, growth, money changing hands. But I do worry about the people whose dreams could be sacrificed to satisfy that commercial vision.

There's a not sycamore, not an oak, not a single tree Jerry and Arlene Shaffer didn't plant in the 35 years they've owned their piece of paradise near Wylie.

Now they've learned that toll road might come through, and the builder could - could - take part of their paradise to do it.

And they're not alone. 1,300 people showed up at the discussion meeting Jobin attended, a lot of them upset their private property might not be so private, after all.

It's hard to imagine some big-time property owner facing something like this. Maybe it happens. But it seems every day somebody's taking something from people in the middle class and calling it "progress."

There are several more meetings ahead on this road proposal, and we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, keep a close eye on your own property -- if only to make sure it's still yours.

Those are my thoughts, send me yours at jmccaa@wfaa.com.


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