AFBF files brief in property rights case

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WASHINGTON – The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court, saying that a government should not be allowed to condemn private property for “open space” preservation without going through a public and deliberative process.
In the Supreme Court case, MiPro v. Mount Laurel, the AFBF brief asks the court to consider a petition filed by home builders whose property was condemned.
Background. The builders, MiPro Homes, obtained all necessary permits from the Mount Laurel Township (N.J.) planning committee. The township later decided, however, that it did not want more homes because of the burden on local resources.
At the last minute, the township decided to condemn the property for “open space” without going through the deliberative process required by the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling in the Kelo eminent domain case.
“Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo, farmers have become vulnerable to the possibility of having their property taken for economic development and open space designations,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.
“When property is taken like it was in the MiPro case – under false pretenses and without a public debate and comprehensive planning process – it flies in the face of the guidelines laid out by Kelo.”
Protection. According to the Farm Bureau brief, if allowed to stand by the court, the actions of the township would “strip farmers of virtually the only protection they have left against unwarranted or ill-advised takings: the protection provided by public scrutiny and open debate.”

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