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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Move, or They'll Make You Move.

The attempt by the Redevelopment Authority to use the threat of eminent domain to take a property at 223N Third Street is perverse. The plan would take a building that is in relatively good condition, while 30 or 40 other blighted buildings in our neighborhoods will continue to disrupt our quality of life. The question is why?
It is interesting that Lafayette College has its sights set on that property. They have been unable to negotiate a deal. So they have somehow enlisted the City of Easton to become their jack-booted real estate agent. Eminent Domain is a precarious tool at best. The ability to force the sale of private property should not be frivolous or preferential. Is taking a man’s property “to reestablish a view of the creek” not frivolous? Is providing continuity for Lafayette College’s string of real estate, while the armory at 7th & Northampton Sts continues to blighten our days, not preferential? This is what I consider abuse of authority.

Kudos to Mrs. Panto for getting action on the blight list. It is unfortunate that we stand to negate her hard work by diverting the funds and effort needed to fight the real blight that threatens public safety, endangers neighboring properties, lowers property values, and disrupts the quality of life.

This proposal might have been palatable if it increased tax revenue or created jobs. But to see the creek better!? And all of this while the taxpayer gets another tax increase via the removal of another building from the tax roles. I call it theft by deception.

This leads me to my theory of conspiracy. Let’s watch the Bushkill Creek Corridor project. Yes, it seems altruistic for Lafayette College to help finance the project study, but it smells to me. I believe the City will again act as the College’s agent by using eminent domain to secure properties along Bushkill Drive, improving them with State and Federal Grants, then selling them to the College and removing them from the tax roles.
Are more tax increases and service cuts looming thanks to Lafayette College?

I have a better idea… let’s buy the College, turn it into a business park, and return it to the tax roles.

Michael Krill

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