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Thread: Norwood battle made national news.

  1. #1
    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Norwood battle made national news.

    This is just sad.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6891224/

    Ohio couple accuses city of grabbing land
    The Gambles dispute a claim of eminent domain

    By Anne Thompson
    Correspondent
    NBC News
    Updated: 7:28 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2005


    NORWOOD, Ohio - On Atlantic Avenue, two visions of the future are on a collision course. The city of Norwood sees an upscale mall and apartment complex here. But Joy and Carl Gamble see the rest of their lives in the house they bought 35 years ago.

    “It's my home. It's my only home, the only home I ever had,” says Joy.

    “We've got a little castle,” says Carl.

    But it may not be theirs much longer. The city has ordered them to leave by February 3 after buying 99 homes and businesses to make way for the mall and declaring the neighborhood "deteriorating."

    What makes it deteriorating?

    “The noise, the congestion and everything.” says Norwood Mayor Thomas Williams. “This used to be a quiet neighborhood. It's not anymore.”

    The Gambles say this is an abuse of government power.

    “They're taking one piece of private property, taking it away from us and giving it to someone else who is a private individual,” says Carl. “And that is not fair.”

    How is this possible?

    Using a law called “eminent domain,” governments have long been able to force the sale of private property for public uses such as courthouses and highways, but the practice now includes making way for private developments.

    “It could be office parks, industrial parks, big box stores, on the theory that these will provide taxes, bigger tax breaks and more jobs,” says Columbia University professor Richard Briffault.

    While most of the Gambles' neighbors want to sell, the Gambles are holding on and taking their fight to court.

    If the developer fails, Mayor Williams says Norwood will lose big time — $1- to $2-million a year in taxes. But if it succeeds, the Gambles say what they will lose is priceless.

    A judge upheld the city's sale of the property and awarded the Gambles $280,000 for their three bedroom house.

    Joy Gamble says there is no amount of money that could get her to move.

    Two visions — with no room for compromise — that will change forever the future of a city or a family.

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  3. #2
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    That is sad. Hard to imagine unless you are in the Gamble's shoes. 35 years and thrown out for another mall. Grrrr...

    An upscale mall in Norwood? No offense to anyone, but you have to be kidding me. Kenwood, Tri-County, Forest Fair.. not enough shopping in the Cincy area? Please! I used to date a girl who lived in Norwood. Norwood does not seem like a place to have an upscale mall (not that anymore are needed). I guess Norwood is stil trying to re-coup from the Camaro plant closing.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

  4. #3
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    This is land for expanding the already-developed Rookwood Commons. If you drive over to that mall off I-71, you drive past these homes who have lots of signs up.

    I feel bad for these people. The city is using the terms "blighted" and "deteriorating" when they appear to be perfectly acceptable homes. They may not be the most modern or the best popular, but they look OK to me.

    The legal battle has been going on for quite a while now. This was the latest news I remember seeing from last spring...

    http://www.enquirer.com/editions/200...c1ablight.html

    Tuesday, June 15, 2004
    Norwood can seize properties

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Judge OKs eminent domain but criticizes city's method

    By Sharon Coolidge and Steve Kemme
    The Cincinnati Enquirer

    After two years of fighting to stay in their Norwood neighborhood, five home and business owners must move, a Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judge ruled Monday.

    Judge Beth Myers said the city of Norwood could take their homes and businesses through eminent domain, paving the way for the city to transfer the property to Anderson Real Estate and Miller-Valentine Group.

    The developers want to expand Rookwood Commons and build Rookwood Exchange, a $125 million complex of offices, shops, living units and restaurants.

    "Granted, the developer had great control over much of the process," Myers wrote in the 38-page decision. "Nonetheless, the city at all times retained its rights and power of eminent domain. While the court does have concerns about the amount of control given to the developer, it is not for this court to substitute its judgment for Norwood in its dealings with third parties."

    Although she sides with the city, Myers chastised the city, saying it abused its discretion in designating the property blighted.

    The property might be deteriorating, the judge said, but it does not fit the city's definition of blighted as outlined in city laws.

    An attorney with the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Justice, an advocacy group that represented property owners in the lawsuit, said he would appeal Myers' decision.

    But that appeal won't come until juries in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court determine values for the properties.

    The case dates to 2002, when Anderson Real Estate and Miller-Valentine Group proposed the new development, which would sit on a triangular piece of property bounded by Interstate 71 and Edmondson and Edwards roads. The development required demolishing 71 properties.

    The idea was discussed in city meetings and a series of town meetings in which many property owners in the area said they would be willing to sell to the developer. They were tired of the noise and lights from the interstate and development encroaching on their neighborhood.

    The developers suggested using eminent domain as a way to take the property, but city officials insisted that they first try to obtain the property privately.

    Sixty-six owners agreed to sell for a minimum of 25 percent above fair market value, but five owners wanted to stay: Joy and Carl Gamble, who own a home on Atlantic Avenue; the owners of Wilker Design on Edwards Road; and the owners of Kumon Math and Reading Center and Hyde Park Holistic Center, both on Edmondson Road.

    Norwood city laws permit the use of eminent domain for urban renewal when an area is blighted or in danger of becoming blighted.

    City council commissioned a study of the neighborhood, later using that study as a basis to declare the property blighted and deteriorating.

    Using that study, City Council voted in September 2003 to take the property through eminent domain. The five property owners took their case to court. "We're pleased that the judge found what everyone in Cincinnati knew - the area was not blighted. It was ridiculous for the city to claim that it was," said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice. "We are disappointed that the judge still upheld the use of eminent domain under this very loose and very vague standard of deteriorating."

    Bullock plans to challenge the ruling with the argument that eminent domain cannot be used on land designed as "deteriorating."

    Richard Briffault, a professor at Columbia Law School in New York who specializes in property and local government law, said he wasn't surprised that the judge ruled in favor of the city.

    For the past 20 years, there has been a recognition that the public can benefit from changing private property from one private use to another, he said.

    "Judges are reluctant to second-guess states and cities," Briffault said. The courts are reluctant because the people who made the decision are the elected officials, he said.

    Norwood Mayor Tom Williams said he was pleased with the ruling, but didn't feel like celebrating because he and other city officials never wanted to use eminent domain.

    "It was a last resort," he said.

    The Rookwood Exchange project is important for the financially strapped city, Williams said. The project could generate up to $2.72 million in tax money for the city. Without the Rookwood project, the proposed site would have been developed in a piecemeal fashion, leaving a jumble of businesses and residences, he said.

    Bill Pierani, who lives on Edwards Road, agreed to sell from the beginning.

    "I know there will be appeals, but this is something the city needs," Pierani said. "The city will prevail in the end."

    But, the property owners fighting the city's use of eminent domain are still holding out hope.

    "I'm disappointed but also optimistic," said Nick Motz, who owns Wilker Design, along with his wife, Mary Beth Wilker. "I think we have a great outlook for appeal."

    The ruling also did not shake the resolve of the Gambles, who are fighting to stay in the house they have lived in for 35 years.

    "We're not going anywhere," Joy Gamble said.

    ---
    E-mail scoolidge@enquirer.com and skemme@enquirer.com =

    Pay attention to the open sky

  5. #4
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    It's just the nature of eminent domain. Hiring an attorney who wrung every fair market value dollar possible out of the city was the only viable course of action.
    Last edited by Unassisted; 02-01-2005 at 08:58 AM.
    /r/reds

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    $280,000 for a three bedroom home in a "declining" neighborhood?

    Yikes.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  7. #6
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    What should be done is outlawing eminent domain unless it's for a road project that can't be rerouted

    "Tax revenues" do not strike me as good reason to drive people out of their homes
    Go Gators!

  8. #7
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    These properties aren't being taken for public use but for private developers. It's abuse.

  9. #8
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    They'd better funnel most of that revenue into the local schools and repairing the roads around there, which are a nightmare.

    I don't see how the Gambles are going to keep their home. Norwood needs that revenue badly. The city is rotting away.

    I live in Norwood, btw.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    I'm sorry, but I'm sitting here shaking my head in wonderment. So it's OK to hold up an entire neighborhoods' progress simply because two people have lived on one plug of ground for 35 years. Ignore the fact that the neighborhood needs help, the city needs revenues and ignore the fact that everyone in the neighborhood that does want to sell (which is apparently all of them) won't be able to because these two sluggs want to keep their 'castle'.

    I hear this type of stuff all the time....it wasn't like this 35 years ago, when I lived there...., there's too much traffic now...., they ruined it by letting anyone else in right after I bought there.....yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Things change people. No one is guaranteed that they can stop time and live in a vacuum for the rest of their lives.

    These two people need to understand that they are not the only people on the planet, there is a bigger picture and they need to move on.

    If you think I'm being harsh regarding these people then I'm sorry, 'cause you're not getting my point. The reallity of the world is that an entire city does not revolve around two selfish people and the tail does not wag the dog.

    Rem

  11. #10
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    Selfish? I disagree. They aren't building a road or a school. No one's home is safe if they can just seize it for the next McDonald's or Walmart or condo. It's complete abuse of eminent domain. These towns can redefine blight on a whim and take your home. Are we not in America?

  12. #11
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    Sorry, TC, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that area is really even suitable for private residences anymore. I go through that corridor on a fairly regular basis, and the traffic there is horrible. A five lane road, highway onramp/offramp, a large shopping center and an intersection with another heavily traveled road... it screams commercial district. And most of it is - the surrounding area is pretty much all commercialized already.

    Man, I get nervous even walking down the sidewalks there because of how bad the traffic is on that road. No way would I say it's safe enough to raise a family.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.

  13. #12
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    I'm not talking about that particular area ..... but any area. Homeowners should have certain rights and protections against these private developers.

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    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    A similar battle was fought over a plan to raze houses in New Rochelle, NY for an Ikea. The homeowners won that battle.

    When municipalities try to kick you out of your home in order to further corporate interests government has officially taken a turn for the worse. This is Stamp Act stuff.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    When municipalities try to kick you out of your home in order to further corporate interests government has officially taken a turn for the worse.

    This is Stamp Act stuff.
    Thank you! Better stated than I can express ........ and you made me have to run out and learn something today too.

  16. #15
    Mod Law zombie-a-go-go's Avatar
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    Re: Norwood battle made national news.

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    A similar battle was fought over a plan to raze houses in New Rochelle, NY for an Ikea. The homeowners won that battle.

    When municipalities try to kick you out of your home in order to further corporate interests government has officially taken a turn for the worse. This is Stamp Act stuff.
    Corporate interests? Surely they benefit, but the city and all its denizens benefit as well. This isn't a case of big government trying to line their gold-plated pockets by screwing over the true-blue American citizen, but rather a decaying city falling apart at the seams because its tax income hasn't kept up with inflation (Norwood is a pretty low-rent city) and it can't afford to effectively provide its peoples with basic government services unless something is done to bring in more income.

    You can feel free to make sweeping statements about right and wrong, but unless you live in Norwood (and to reiterate, I do), respectfully, you can't understand how important this is to keep the city itself from buckling under.

    Maybe if the Gambles and their ilk didn't regularly shoot down every proposed tax increase Norwood tries to pass, they wouldn't be in this predicament. But you reap what you sow.
    "It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
    -Ken Griffey Jr.


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