Sometimes, the cavalier attitude local governments have respecting eminent domain is startling. So it is with this case, brought to our attention by libertarian magician Jacob Grier. It concerns a magic shop in Wheaton, MD (about half an hour's drive from my hometown of Herndon, VA) that has been seized and slated for demolition so Montgomery County can put in a shiny new alley.
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot indeed.
I really don't see how anyone could be in favor of such takings. There's nothing wrong with having a magic shop in between two strip malls. There's nothing wrong with the state buying property and tearing it down either, but if the state wants to get rid of the shop, they ought to be forced to pay what any other buyer would be forced to pay. Let the taxpayers decide whether or not the magic shop should be there - not some developer who can afford to buy a couple of county councillors.
I also note that the Jewish bookstore I used to go to a lot as a kid is on that same block of Georgia Avenue. I wonder what will happen to it when the county decides that there are better uses for the land than the strip mall that it's in...