To the Editor:
Do you value private property purchased from your hard-earned wages? Do you want to live on this property for as long as you deem fit, raise a family, and eventually hand over this property to your children, and have them pass it on to their family?
How would you feel if you had to start over, wondering where to start this painful and depressing process?
In Bell County, and the Temple community, private property owners are feeling the burden of eminent domain, or the government seizure of private property in exchange for monetary compensation of the property value.
This occurs mainly for public infrastructure projects. However, what is occurring in Temple is not what meets the eye. Yes, eminent domain is being used to build roads for Temple public use (by seizing property with family housing), but the indirect purpose is to build these roads to service industry and commercial interests.
After taking the land for improving or creating new public roads, eminent domain is used again to take private property with houses next to these roads after the land is zoned for commercial and industrial development.
The city is abusing its power of eminent domain to seize land claiming that it will be used solely for public use, but the actual objective is to build roads that service commercial buildings.
The Temple City Council is twisting the original intent and spirit of the law to use it to expand Temple to a city the size of Houston, Austin, or Dallas.
Eminent domain leaves families in disarray. Article I, Section 17 of the Texas Constitution promises land owners “adequate compensation” when their property is “taken, damaged, or destroyed” for public use only.
However, in many cases, the landowners do not receive fair compensation.Citizens purchased land in Temple after the 2008 Temple Industrial Development Plan was established but were not notified that the property would eventually be taken with eminent domain.
This is a violation of trust between the city and its citizens, who were deceived into believing they had purchased land they could keep.