No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Plano Family Threatened with Taking After Years of Giving
Todd Moore and his family once owned 1,700 acres of farmland in a rural area outside Dallas that now encroaches upon the sprawling suburbia of Plano. Over the years, the Moore family has generously given chunks of their land to Plano, including the original 661 acres for Oak Point Park, which is already the largest park in the city and has won national awards for park management. Apparently, however, they haven’t been generous enough to satisfy Plano City officials. Now that the city is overrun with housing developments, it wants to condemn the rest of the Moores’ land, so that all those newcomers to the city can enjoy the enhanced property values and quality of life all the extra open space may bring them. The Plano City Council has approved the use of eminent domain to take the land, out of fear that the Moores might sell out to a developer first. According to City Councilman Shep Stahel, if somebody were to develop the land, it would result in two small subdivisions sticking down into the park, and “[t]hat’s inconsistent with a nature preserve.” For his part, Todd Moore is amazed at the City’s lack of gratitude: “It’s beyond me why they would want to condemn land from a family that’s always given.”1 Welcome to the world of eminent domain.
1 Wendy Hundley, “Talks Falter, So City May Condemn Land; Owner Is Upset by Tactic Used to Enlarge Park,” The Dallas Morning News, July 7, 2002, at 1P.