Rio Rancho Places Limits on Eminent Domain


by Timothy Sandefur

You’ll recall that the City Council of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, recently went out of its way to reassert its authority to use eminent domain for redevelopment. Now comes this news:

Rio Rancho City Council voted last week to uphold a previous resolution never to use eminent domain to forcibly take a home or business from an existing owner to make land available for commercial development. But, they say, it's okay to take undeveloped, private property if it's needed for redevelopment plans that improve the greater common good.

Now, wait a second. The bureaucrats tell us that eminent domain is necessary to clean up bad neighborhoods, and protect us from hazardous buildings, and so forth. But now they’re going to condemn undeveloped property for the benefit of developers? So undeveloped land is blighted? I thought they only did that in California.