House Transportation Committee approves Shea’s eminent domain repurchase bill

Measure would give owners right to buy back former properties declared surplus by Department of Transportation


The House Transportation Committee gave its approval Monday to a measure sponsored by Rep. Matt Shea that would allow citizens who lost their land to condemnation by the state Department of Transportation to repurchase that property if it is deemed surplus.

Shea, R-Spokane Valley, said House Bill 2716 is about providing fairness in the eminent domain process.

“Eminent domain is and should always be a method of last resort. Government should never use it to prosper at the expense of property owners,” said Shea. “This bill provides a small measure of protection against eminent domain abuse by giving people the first right of repurchase of their former properties that had been condemned by the Department of Transportation and later declared surplus for sale.”

Under HB 2716, the right of repurchase would be limited to properties acquired by the Department of Transportation through condemnation within the previous 10 years. Only the former owner would have the right of repurchase if the property is declared surplus.

“While to a small degree this would cure an inequity in the law, it would make a large difference for many who lost their properties to the Department of Transportation through condemnation proceedings and want them back,” noted Shea.

The measure now goes to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications