MARQUETTE -- The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) announces an open forum on eminent domain, or the right of public authorities to condemn private land for public purposes, including road-building and economic development. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at the Federated Women’s Clubhouse, corner of Ridge and Front streets in Marquette.
Condemning private land is one hammer in the toolbox of public authorities for achieving their goals. It has surfaced as an issue in the proposed County Road 595, which is no longer a private mining haul road but a public road spearheaded by the Marquette County Road Commission. Is this tool likely to be used? This free public forum will allow a thorough exploration of this issue.
The facilitator will be Dr. Phil Bellfy, a Native American educator, author, and Michigan State University professor, who has studied the use and abuse of eminent domain in the Lansing area. Based on Bellfy's experience and research, he will explain the laws, address the standards introduced in the 2006 state constitutional referendum, and illustrate through case studies how eminent domain has been practiced in Michigan. For more information, contact Jon Saari at 906-228-4656.