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Council proposal regarding property rights fails

Council proposal regarding property rights fails

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - An ordinance regarding the city of Colorado Springs' ability to buy private land for public use was rejected Monday.

Council members voted down an ordinance that would have limited the city's ability to use eminent domain to acquire property. Eminent domain is a government's ability to buy private land, even when it's not on the market, for purposes of public use.

The ordinance said the city could only use eminent domain for traditional purposes of public use, like for public streets, highways and water facilities. It also said entities would need written approval from city council to communicate any threat or potential use of eminent domain to property owners.

Under the ordinance, city council could use eminent domain to eliminate abandoned property and property deemed "blight," meaning unfit. Under the ordinance, a property would have to meet strict criteria to be deemed blight or abandoned.

The Urban Renewal Authority director and the mayor's Deputy Chief of Staff voiced opposition to the ordinance. Among the arguments were that the ordinance was too broad, that it went against state law and that it was unnecessary.

More than a dozen people also attended the city council meeting to voice their opinions during public comment.

The ordinance was introduced by council member Joel Miller. It was supported by council members Don Knight, Helen Collins and Andy Pico. Council members Val Snider, Jan Martin, Jill Gaebler, Merv Bennett and Keith King opposed it.

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