I want to commend the City Council and the mayor for knowing how to use a good thing over and over again. The council has decided to use their eminent domain authority to take possession of the World Gym property on 67th Street.
Eminent domain allows the Ocean City government to take an owner’s property after meeting certain conditions even if the person does not want to sell. But to comply with constitutional requirements for using the eminent domain authority, the council has to show that the property is needed for the public good.
According to Public Works Director Hal Adkins, the city decided that a new water treatment plant was needed in the 67th Street area.
Around 2012, the owner of the Slide and Ride property that was located between 64th and 65th streets filed plans to build a 100-unit hotel on his property. Back in 2012, the council again threatened to take the property by its eminent domain authority unless the owner of the Slide and Ride property sold it to the city.
To justify the eminent domain authority, the council also said the Slide and Ride property was needed for a new water treatment plant. Now, of course, we know that the Slide and Ride property was not used for a water treatment plant but now contains a boat launching facility along with a large parking area for boat trailer storage.
It would seem to me that the council’s explanation of the need for a new water treatment sewerage plant on 67th Street location is nothing but a pretense for permitting the council to use its eminent domain authority. The use of eminent domain by Ocean City Council members to take the 67th Street property is as naked an abuse of government power as can be imagined.
Joseph H. Potter