Thursday, July 14, 2005

Lost Liberty Hotel

(I don't know how this one got past me for two weeks!)

Freestar Media, LLC, has decided to build The Lost Liberty Hotel, at 34 Cilley Hill Road, Weare, New Hampshire.

Weare is a lovely, bucolic, mountain community between Manchester and Concord.

Much of New Hampshire is prime tourist land. All year people from the Northeast flock to vacation homes, rented chalets, ski slopes, beaches, and cheap motels to get away from it all. The tourist trade in New Hampshire is huge and growing and generates a LOT of cash for the local communities.

Lovely, quaint Weare, and redneck New Hampshire, would benefit hugely from a hotel built on the grounds of the two-story colonial farmhouse at 34 Cilley Hill Road. A wise developer and architect could incorporate the existing structure into an upscale New England Country Inn.

The existing residential structure, valued at $100,000, generated $2,895 in property taxes for the government in 2004. A thirty-room Inn or Hotel would likely generate that per month or per week, and unlike the existing structure, it could employ Weare residents and generate ancillary economic windfalls with the tourist trade generated by the new enterprise.

There is nothing wrong with the existing structure. In fact, it is in pristine condition and is a lovely residential property. Herein lies the rub: it really doesn't generate much income for the state or the citizenry, and replacing it with a going-concern (like a hotel) would be a wise move for the local community.

In the not-so-distant past, the idea that a perfectly good residential property could be taken by eminent domain to make way for a corporate enterprise was unthinkable. Sure, property was taken for public works, but what idiot would think it's a good idea to take someone's home for a hotel?

Well, the current owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road thinks the government should do just that. The owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road agrees publicly and professionally that the government should be able to take any property at any time for private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use. The owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road believes that any project a local government believes might create jobs and revenue is good enough reason to force the resident from his home.

Personally, I disagree. Well, of course I disagree! I understand the taking of property to build highways and other public works; but, taking property so a developer can build a mall or a hotel is patently absurd.

The owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road is David Souter, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In June, he sided with a majority opinion in the case Kelo vs. City of New London and allowed New London to take a private owner's land to build a mall. Yup! Another mall, just what Connecticut needs!

The decision actually includes this sentence:
Petitioners' proposal that the Court adopt a new bright-line rule that economic development does not qualify as a public use is supported by neither precedent nor logic.

Not supported by logic? So, according to the owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road, it is therefore logical that development of a mall should take precedent over the rights of a citizen landowner. I don't see any logic in the quoted sentence written by another master of jurisprudence, Justice John Paul Stevens, nor do I think my interpretation is particularly illogical. Justices Souter and Stevens (along with Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer) believe that economic development trumps private land ownership.

Let's see if Souter has the courage of his convictions!

Will the Board of Selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, actually entertain the proposal by Freestar Media, LLC? The proposal promises to improve the local economy of the town with jobs and huge tax payments.

Isn't it the job of the Selectmen to jump at this opportunity, especially now that the owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road agrees so stridently that taking his home is best for the community and the State?

I think the Selectmen would be derelict in their duty as representatives if they did not grant this proposal the proper hearing and due process; and failed to work personally to make it all happen. They owe it to the citizenry!

I never thought I would embrace the taking of personal property by eminent domain; but here is the day. I hope and pray that the Board of Selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, force the owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road to stand with the courage of his convictions and turn-over his farmhouse for the economic betterment of his community.

Of course, no wrong-winger (even cloaked in the mantle of jurisprudence) would ever apply his convictions to himself; because thinking people know that men like the owner and resident of 34 Cilley Hill Road consider themselves above the law.

Read about the development plans at the Freestar Media, LLC, site by using the links below.

Freestar Press Release

Freestar Letter to the Town of Weare

Read the many Blogsphere entries and MSM stories with this simple Google search.

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