Home Rule Charter Commissioners consider Eminent Domain issue

By Lois Krafsky-Perry

Citizen Review 

April 25, 2007

Port Angeles, WA …Several issues have caught the attention of Clallam County Home Rule Charter commissioners this five-year term.  The fifteen member elected board met again April 16 and is deciding what issues to consider, for amendments, to the county constitution.

Kaj Ahlburg of Port Angeles introduced the Eminent Domain issue at one of the early meetings of the commission. Ahlburg, a retired attorney, has been observing county land issues for several years and is alarmed about eminent domain abuses in other areas of the state and nation. Ahlburg wants Clallam County protected by the Home Rule Charter.

He referred to the court case, Kelo V New London and is supported by many citizens who agree they want to make sure their properties are protected from unfair takings. The majority of county residents, who have testified to the commission, are in agreement with Ahlburg’s concerns.

As a result, Commissioner Sue Forde requested to form a committee to discuss the eminent domain issue. She reported that her committee will be presenting a proposed amendment to the commission as a whole, possibly as soon as the next meeting.

The Washington Senate voted in January to require clear notice, to private citizens, before their property is taken for condemnation for public projects
Jim McEntire of Sequim testified before the charter commission and asked that Eminent Domain be addressed as a policy matter in the county constitution. McEntire wants the county to use true common sense in public use and not to incur the county tax base, “which seems to be very unfair.”

Board member Patti Morris of Port Angeles asked McEntire if he was asking for legal proper notice for Eminent Domain. “Yes, I support affirmative notice, “ he said.
There have been letters submitted to the Washington legislature, representing citizens of the state of Washington, with complaints, about Eminent Domain offenses. Many are concerned with purchasing of their properties, without proper notice.  Some properties have been resold for profit by the purchasers.
Many landowners have been financially strapped and physically and mentally exhausted by a sudden accost to their lives and liberty.
The Board of Freeholders will be addressing Eminent Domain and several other issues when they meet again May 7, at the Clallam County courthouse in Port Angeles. The Board will consider topics that have been brought to their commission, by the people. They plan to develop a questionnaire to be published in local papers before the May 21 meeting, which begins the final round of public testimony.



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