Local News

City’s ‘eminent domain’ threatens Port Orchard homes

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. – City officials want to expand the walking trail along the Sinclair Inlet. To do it, the city may seize five waterfront properties using eminent domain – and that has those homeowners seeing red.

house“This is my home. Right now, I can’t think of anything I would take for it,” said homeowner John Haynes. “I want to stay right here.”

Spend a few minutes along Bay Street and you’ll understand why no one wants to leave.  Stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound says it all.

“I don’t want to give it up,” said Haynes.

Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes agrees – he is convinced the waterfront’s beauty is key to reviving the city’s struggling downtown.

“Every city is trying to find that magic potion that makes their downtown viable again,” said Matthes. “I think we need to have a good solution that works for property owners, the public, the city.”

Since 2011, talk of seizing five properties along the water has hung over this neighborhood like a fog. But now the city has invested $200,000 to appraise the properties, and homeowners worry that their days are numbered.

“Eminent domain has its purpose when it’s absolutely needed,” said homeowner Randy Jones.  “But it is a last resort.”

Jones runs a charter fishing boat and a vacation rental out of his home. He says it’s un-American to take his home so the city can replace it with park benches and a bike path.

“When the government can seize your house for a viewing platform, that’s not democracy,” said Jones.

Matthes said opening the areas to the public will bring in visitors and much-needed revenue to the local economy.

But Jones has lived there for 35 years, and he said the politicians need to go back to the drawing board.

“I’d like to see the city turn it into something that’s working for its citizens and not against them,” said Jones.

The mayor said seizing the properties via eminent domain is expensive and not a sure thing just yet.

The homeowners are skeptical and say they want to be kept in the loop about what’s going on; Matthes said he’ll make sure they stay informed.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

12 Comments to “City’s ‘eminent domain’ threatens Port Orchard homes”

    workingman said:
    November 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    how does a bike / walking path increase revenue. and how much will it bring in? and how long until they recoup there / the peoples money back .sounds like BS to me. they should look at what kind of property the mayor owns and see if they could make a park or something out of that.

      HarryDickman said:
      November 28, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      That's what I was thinking. Make the mayors home a park, greenbelt. This is AGEND21, look it up!

        Lacey Loves Liberty said:
        November 28, 2013 at 7:17 PM

        AGENDA21 = creepy/ sinister…

    Jimmy James said:
    November 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    5 properties appraisals cost $200k? Sounds like somebody is getting a sweatheart deal. Me thinks corruption is involved just by that number alone. I;m surprised the writer of the article didn't think that was a high number.

      Slam1263 said:
      November 30, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      Too be fair, the Mayor just wants his brother in law's appraisal business to pack up and leave his basement.

    pkpltd said:
    November 28, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Well said – this discussion of dissolving these property owners for this dipstick path is beyond me! I honestly wonder what the Mayor is drinking to make him think the 'revenue' thoughts regarding this dingbat 'trail' ?! Leave it right where it is now – I have no desire to walk to Annapolis !?!

    andy said:
    November 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Ironic that the gentleman with the cane feels eminent domain is fine except when it affects his property..Nobody seems to mind these unconstitutional laws until it affects them.

    Calgary roofers said:
    December 2, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    That's quite the conflict of interests.

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