Eminent Domain and Cedar Village

By: Beth Shayne
By: Beth Shayne

The state Supreme Court ruled last summer against exactly that provision. It's called eminent domain, and state's have the power to broaden or restrict it.

There's a loophole in Michigan's ruling though, and because of it, a showdown over East Lansing's notorious Cedar Village could force Michigan's high court to reconsider.

It's been years East Lansing's wanted Cedar Village for their own. The apartment complex is owned by rental company DTN. The city's long-standing interest in this property is two-fold: it's desirable riverfront property, on one hand. On the other, it has a bad reputation for trouble. It's where MSU's riots began and the city says it doesn't meet their standard.

"We've designated the area as blighted," explains City Manager Ted Staton.

Enter the exception. Even under Michigan's stricter law, cities can take blighted properties, and MSU law professor Adam Mossoff says it doesn't take much to be blighted. He sites provisions that say inefficient arrangement of homes, or use that is "too mixed" cause "blight."

He says that's why Cedar Village is blighted, and how East Lansing could make a statement in court. In his opinion, the showdown over that property would test the law, helping Michigan decide is the clause is a fair one.

East Lansing says they do not plan to use eminent domain over the blighted Cedar Village, but admit they appreciate the right as a tool in their negotiations.


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