Eminent domain may sound like a scary proposition: the government can just take land from you? However, that's not at all how it works.
Claim: The plan takes large swathes of land from residents and business owners.
The plan does not “take” anything from anyone. All property the town is acquiring “in fee” is along the former railroad corridor. This land has not been taxed, since neither the Town nor the property owner knew it was privately held. Property owners have already been made offers to purchase the land at the highest market value. Each property owner has the right to negotiate with the Town on the price. However, if the vote to move forward with the land acquisition prevails, the Town will have to secure all of the parcels, and even then the property owner will be compensated for the land. Easements are also being purchased at the highest market value along public roads such as Railroad Avenue to construct this project.
In other words, any land the Town acquires, the Town will be paying the owner for it, even under eminent domain. And eminent domain will only be invoked if the plan passes and a property owner doesn't negotiate with the Town.