Public Opinion of the Use of Eminent Domain for Phase Two of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail
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Albonesi, Stephen H.
Eminent domain, the right of a government to take private property for public uses, was originally intended for projects with clear public purposes, such as the construction of utility lines. However, the use of eminent domain has become increasingly controversial because it has also been used for more discretionary projects, such as recreational trails. The purpose of this study was to gain insight on public opinion of the use of eminent domain for Phase Two of the Cayuga Waterfront Trail in Ithaca, NY. A secondary purpose was to observe how opinions of eminent domain differ across demographic groups. A telephone survey of a listed sample of 250 Ithaca residents was administered through the Cornell Survey Research Institute. Results indicate that Ithaca residents support the use of eminent domain both in theory and in accomplishing Phase Two. Residents favored eminent domain in general and for Phase Two by a ratio of about 5 (in favor): 3 (opposed): 2 (undecided). Younger to middle-aged people who hold at least a bachelor’s degree were most apt to favor the use of eminent domain. In general, those who favored eminent domain in theory also approved of eminent domain for Phase Two, and vice versa. The study demonstrates strong community support for the use of eminent domain for Phase Two. For the City of Ithaca, the survey data can be a useful application in addressing counter positions to Phase Two. Public surveys of eminent domain are therefore important tools in the public decision making process.
dissertation or thesis