The Hammer is Smaller

August 14, 2006 | By PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION has this story about eminent domain reform in Illinois. Excerpt:

In Illinois, beginning Jan. 1, local governments will face a more stringent process when attempting to use condemnation powers to combat economic blight or when seeking to aid a developer in building a new hotel, retail complex, industrial building or other private venture.

[Tim] Jobst, for one, welcomes the changes.

In 2004, Jobst felt eminent domain first hand, when the city of Ottawa filed a condemnation suit against him to compel him to sell his restaurant, Jimmy John's sandwich shop, to a developer seeking to build a hotel on the 100 block of West Main Street, which lies adjacent to Jobst's store.

The block, known locally as the Jordan block, has stood largely vacant and decaying since it was ravaged by fire in 1998.

The threat of eminent domain alone compelled Jobst to settle out of court, at a price he believed too small.

Ultimately, the hotel plan was scrapped in favor of a new proposal by a new developer to find an investor willing to develop retail stores, restaurants and condominiums on the block.

And, while the search for that investor continues, Jobst has been allowed to continue to operate his sandwich shop.

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