Shea eminent domain repurchase legislation gains committee approval

The House Transportation Committee has given its approval to a bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Shea that would allow citizens who lost land to condemnation by the state Department of Transportation to have first repurchase rights if that property is deemed surplus.

“Eminent domain should always be a method of last resort. Government should never use it to prosper at the expense of property owners,” said Shea, R-Spokane Valley. “This measure says that if the Department of Transportation acquires property through eminent domain and then puts it up for sale as surplus, the original owner gets the first right to purchase that property back.”

Shea noted that several years ago, land was acquired through eminent domain to build an extension to the Seattle monorail. However, when plans to extend the monorail were abandoned, the original owners had to compete against other bidders for their former properties.

“The original owners should be given the first option to repurchase that property. Many of them still have adjacent properties and they may not have wanted to relinquish it in the first place. It’s a matter of fairness. This legislation would provide a small measure of protection against eminent domain abuse,” said Shea.

House Bill 1441 now goes to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications