Nine years ago, residents of Clarksville, Tenn., had to rebuild after a tornado ripped through the city located less than 10 miles from Fort Campbell and the Kentucky border. But the successful growth has led local officials to further ambition. Today, property owners in Clarksville are threatened not by a natural disaster but local officials looking to redevelop in the city. Last November, Clarksville officials declared blighted an area that encompasses over 1800 homes. The blighted area includes several well-maintained Victorian homes. Residents, outraged for months have come together to form the Clarksville Property Rights Coalition. Since the passage of the blight designation, residents have packed city council meetings and kept up the pressure on city officials. Last night the mayor cancelled a meeting to discuss the redevelopment ordinance. It looks like the city may have violated state law regarding notifications.
Tennessee passed eminent domain reform laws in 2006. Nevertheless, Tennessee’s blight statutes are far too vague and the changes in notification requirements make things worse for property owners in the state.
For much more information, visit Clarksville Online, a community-based web publication that has been tracking this story very closely.