A Connecticut legislative committee approved a bill to restrict public taking of private land for economic development purposes. The bill would prohibit state and municipal redevelopment agencies from using eminent domain to take property to be used as part of a private development project.
According to press accounts, there are a number of potential issues that may work against pas-sage of the bill. “I’m not certain that this will continue forward past today,” said Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-Fairfield, co-chairwoman of the committee. “There are some valid legal concerns. We do need to make sure we’re properly balancing our need to provide economic de-velopment” against personal property rights. For example, Rep. Steven Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, who opposed the bill, asked what happens when an abandoned factory or blighted property lies undeveloped. “This (bill) totally eliminates economic development as a tool to redevelop our ur-ban areas,” he said.