Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Gamble Family in Norwood, Ohio

In Norwood, Ohio, the Gamble family recently lost their home because the City of Norwood wanted to give their land to a developer. The Institute for Justice reports:

The Gambles’ fight to save their home began in 2003 after the Norwood City Council accepted the results of an “urban renewal study” that found the Gambles’ attractive, middle-class neighborhood to be “deteriorating” and “blighted”—and thus eligible to be taken by eminent domain Suspiciously, the study was initiated and funded by developer Anderson—the same person the Council will transfer the property to for commercial development.

Gall pointed out that some of the problems listed in the blight “study,” such as dead-end roads and traffic, were the City’s doing and beyond the control of the residents. The study itself admits that not one of the 99 homes and businesses in the area were dilapidated or behind on taxes. Perhaps most worrisome of all, one of the factors the City relied on to say that the neighborhood was “deteriorating” is that it had “diversity of ownership”—essentially, everyone owned their own single-family home or business.

“If our place was ‘deteriorating’ based on everyone owning their own home, then nearly every neighborhood in America is deteriorating and could be taken,” said homeowner Carl Gamble. “Step out your front door and look to the left and look to the right and if you see a home owned by someone else, then look out.”

“The so-called blight study was a joke and a fraud,” Gall said. “It is an outrageous example of the total buyout of a city’s eminent domain power.”

Carl Jr. and Joy Gamble.