05 December 2006

Just how complicated are the Highlands?

The Daily Record published a very interesting letter from a farm owner in the Highlands. The author calls the act elitist and accuses the plan of robbing property owners of their rights as a way of providing a giant park for the rich.

As we so often see in these cases, serious fundamental concerns about real issues evolve into base accusations:
But they didn't listen to me. Excepting two, the council members put their principles aside and voted to release the plan. In so doing, they missed an opportunity for a bold initiative that might have enabled the Highlands Act to evolve into a fair and equitable environmental law. Instead, the act stands as a nationalization of private property without the just compensation promised for public use takings in our Constitution.

Illegal takings seems like a great hook. In reality, the current Supreme Court would seem inclined towards protecting individual property rights so you wouldn't think an unconstitutional act would last long.

Underneath the emotions lie some really important issues about balancing personal versus comunity interests and the trade-offs between different perspectives on quality of life. A letter like this should be a reminder to all of our students (and alums) of these balances and the individuals involved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It still doesn't change the fact that agencies with eminent domain powers need to be careful in how they use them. Like almost any power they can be used or abused; the line between the two is easy to cross when your interest is not the community's.