They seized her property via eminent domain. She fought it all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. Still, Susette Kelo would not move.
A year after the controversial and widely unpopular decision, which gave cities new power to seize property for private redevelopment, the city of New London, Conn., is finally getting Susette Kelo out of the way of their Fort Trumbull project — house and all.
Gov. Jodi Rell said Friday that Kelo and the other remaining holdout, Pasquale Cristofaro, had agreed to a settlement with the city, under terms that were not disclosed. The announcement came a day after a deadline to reach a settlement and be eligible for additional compensation from the state.
The tentative agreement calls for Kelo’s house to be moved, Rep. Robert Ward (D-Conn.) told the Associated Press. That’s right. They’re going to move her house. That’s the only way they could get Kelo, who had lived in the neighborhood for years, to agree to leave.
“I think Governor Rell has great faith that there’s going to be a resolution to this nightmare,” Kelo said Friday. “It’s not positive for me because I’ve got to go. I’m not happy about it.”
The five other homeowners in the case had already settled with the city and handed over their properties.
Scott Bullock, a spokesman for the holdouts, said the plan “takes into account the homeowners’ attachment to their homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.” — Associated Press
In vaguely related eminent domain news, President Bush on Friday issued an executive order to set policy on when the executive branch can seize property under eminent domain. Under the new policy, federal agencies will not be able to seize property for private economic development.
The order is largely symbolic, though, as the federal government has little or no history of such actions, nor does it do anything to prevent the federal government from providing funds to state and local eminent domain actions which are for private redevelopment.
Many states have passed laws or regulations restricting the use of eminent domain in the last year, while many others have accelerated their takings of property for private economic development. In New London, the displaced residents will watch their former property be replaced by upscale condominiums and a hotel and convention center.