Letter: Private property rights
It was interesting to learn that the Prescott City Council, which seems to hold “private property rights” sacred (when it comes to the property of developers), is willing to exercise, on a unanimous vote, its eminent domain powers to take private property when it sees fit. (Daily Courier — Friday, May 17, 2019: “City ‘takes’ two properties for projects.”) While City Attorney Jon Paladini attempted to downplay the significance of the city’s actions, the fact remains that this exercise of municipal authority is indeed contrary to the generally-expected rights of private property owners.
Thus, our councilpersons’ reluctance to interfere with Arizona Eco Development’s wishes to develop its property in the Granite Dells as it sees fit is somewhat perplexing.
The city’s right to refuse AED’s requested annexation does not in any way rise to the level of a “taking,” and yet the council continues to balk at the prospect of requiring the dedication of 500 acres of AED’s extensive holdings as a regional park in exchange for the many benefits that the developer would acquire through annexation by the city. If anything would contribute to “public health and safety,” the creation of the proposed regional park in the heart of the iconic Dells should be viewed as doing so.
James David Price