The Post-Dispatch reports that St. Charles has passed new restrictions on eminent domain:
Under the St. Charles measure, property could be condemned to make way for a shopping center or some other tax-producing project only in limited situations - such as when there is "a harmful or unproductive use of land."
As examples, the bill cites abandoned property, public nuisances and structures beyond repair or unfit for habitation. Also allowed would be the forced buyout of property with at least a 50 percent decline in assessed valuation over two years or nonresidential buildings lacking a business license for a year.
Eminent domain also could be used to acquire residences occupied by renters, whatever the condition of the buildings. The measure, which was approved on an 8-0 vote, would continue to use existing standards of condemnation to obtain land for public purposes such as building roads, parks and sewers.
That sounds like an improvement over the status quo, but falls far short of the goal of ending eminent domain abuse for private profit. And it sounds like there are still plenty of loopholes.