Eminent Domain provision an issue in rejected Baltimore redevelopment plan

Last week in a 7 to 1 vote, the Baltimore Planning Commission rejected an urban renewal plan for the city’s West Covington area of South Baltimore. The plan would have approved the use of eminent domain to take 50 acres of active, industrial land. The Baltimore Sun quotes the commission’s chairman, Peter Auchincloss:

“This plan would contribute to the greater good to the city, too, but there are existing, reasonably thriving businesses contributing to economic development … and the tax base.”

The Commission’s rejection plan was also due in part by a united opposition from the property owners affected by the plan. Local resident, Joseph Beckman, Sr. told the commission that the neighborhood was a good one:

“It’s a close-knit community,” Beckman said. “We’re not against the development of the future. We want to be a part of that future.”

Unfortunately, the community is not out of the woods yet. The plan goes before the City Council, which has no obligation to follow the Planning Commission’s vote.