It would be nice to understand both the federal and the state positions
as it pertains to eminent domain.

The City of New London, CT. condemned privately owned real property so
it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. New
London took private land and gave it to a private developer for private
use. The Federal Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the general
benefits that the community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such
redevelopment plans as permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause
of the Fifth Amendment. (Kelo v City of New London)

This decision was highly unpopular and caused many states to revisit
their own laws regarding the use of eminent domain. Indiana enacted
P.L.163-2006 in the year 2006. Indiana did not rule eminent domain could

not be used by communities for use as it applies to redevelopment.
Indiana defined the circumstances in which eminent domain could be used
and put restrictions on its use. Indiana's law restricts the condemnor
who exercises the power of eminent domain to acquire a parcel of real
property from a private person with the intent of ultimately
transferring ownership or control to another private person for a use
that is no longer a public use. The projects that do not apply for the
general eminent domain laws in the State of Indiana are referred to as
private to public to private (ppp) or private to private.

A "public use" is government's or general public's possession,
occupation and enjoyment of a parcel of property for fundamental
governmental services including highways, bridges, airport, ports,
certified technology parks, intermodal facilities and parks and the
government's leasing of a parcel it owns by a lease with a right of
forfeiture of a highway, bridge airport, port, certified technology
park, intermodal facility or park and certain utilities. The term does
not include the public benefit of economic development, including an
increase in tax base, tax revenues employment, or general economic

Some parcels in a "ppp" area may not qualify for condemnation and must
be purchased. To qualify for eminent domain acquisition in a "ppp" area
the parcel must be one of the following types. 1-have a structure that
is a public nuisance 2- have a structure that is unfit for human
habitation 3- have a structure that is a fire hazard or other public
safety threat 4-have a structure that is not fit for its intended use
because of infrastructure deficiencies 5- is a vacant or abandoned
parcel in a substantially developed neighborhood in a nuisance type
condition that has not been remedied within a reasonable time after
notice 6- has delinquent taxes exceeding the assessed value 8- is

It should be noted that a highway is defined as any road that is open to

everyone; public road, a main road; thoroughfare.

The property that falls within the proposed new route of 16th street and

the Georgetown Road parcels are clearly allowed under Indiana eminent
domain law because their defined use falls under the term of "public

If you review the definition of both the federal and the state laws as
they pertain to the use of eminent domain it is clear that the Town of
Speedway and the SRC have not violated anyones fifth amendment rights.
The property defined as roadway in the master plan clearly qualifies
under law of eminent domain and the area designated as a technology
center under the master plan also qualifies under Indiana law. All
efforts have been made by the Town of Speedway and the SRC to conform to

the letter of the law.

To imply the forfeiture of property will be tied up in court for many
years is another fear factor thrown out there. New London already did
our heavy lifting by securing a precedent in law that applies to
redevelopment areas. Indian law has been clearly defined and the issue
will not be tied up in prolonged court battles in state court either. We
can actually thank Kelo v City of New London for minimizing our own
legal hurdles.

John P. Rust