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This dilemma brings the Kelo case to the forefront of public policy debate.
The Kelo case involved "New London, a city in Connecticut, using its eminent domain authority to seize private property to sell to private developers. The city said developing the land would create jobs and increase tax revenues" Oyez.org. 2005). The plaintiffs contended that the takings by the city were not designed for public use but rather private gain. In the Supreme Court's decision the majority answered that the taking was for economic development which would benefit the community as a whole and as such "the Fifth Amendment did not require "literal" public use, but the "broader and more natural interpretation of public use as 'public purpose'" (Oyez.org. 2005). The decision significantly broadens the interpretation of what public officials can designate public use and calls into question to what extent private properties can be taken for "just compensation."
The fact that urban renewal projects require significant public investment and tax dollars underscores the significant policy issues associated with eminent domain and private property transfer from one owner to another. In theory any proposed urban renewal or revitalization project could be construed as beneficial to the public at large however, the immediate economic benefits would flow to the private firms who are in receipt of the transfer, and "homes, small businesses, and other properties would be razed in favor of high-profile private developments" (Lehavi, a. & Licht, a. 2007). Invariably "this situation would leave landowners with minimal compensation based on the pre-project objective land values" (Lehavi, a. & Licht, a. 2007).
In addition to the ramifications of "public use" the other significant development concern is the possibility of gentrification of the
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