Stratford looking to loosen eminent domain laws

STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Stratford Town Council is looking to loosen their eminent domain law at a meeting Monday night. Members are asking their constituents, “Right now, is economic development such a high priority that they want us to have that power, or would they rather not?”

Town Attorney Tim Bishop said the town had a knee-jerk reaction in 2006, after the owner of a little pink house took on New London at the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo vs. the City of New London. The Justices decided it was legal for a municipality to take private property for economic development purposes. In light of this, Stratford’s Town Council passed a statute.

“This statute basically told the public that here in Stratford we’ll never do that,” said Bishop.

Now, council member Jason Santi is exploring the idea of loosening the law. The town attorney didn’t detail which land they’re interested in, if any.

“It could be good and bad,” said part-owner of Sports Replay 2, Jeff Wilkerson. “It depends what they’re going to use it for, what their ideas are going forward.”

“We need to get Stratford on a roll, and I don’t think this is the way right now to be talking like this,” said owner of Top Tees, Alden Fraser.

The town attorney said this is still in the very early stages of the lawmaking, and even if they do go through with it there will still be protections.

“You have to give public notice of that,” said Bishop. “You have to go out and your legislative body has to actually act on it, and the public has an opportunity to comment on it.”

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