Today's Chronicle has a story by Matt Stiles about Councilman Michael Berry's proposed ordinance to limit the city of Houston's ability to declare eminent domain:
With protection for property owners from private-development land seizures dead for now in the Legislature, a Houston councilman is proposing a new city ordinance intended to limit Houston's eminent domain powers.
Councilman Michael Berry, a lawyer and real estate agent, has asked Mayor Bill White's administration to draft a new rule preventing the city from taking property unless needed for public use.
"My intent is to prevent the government from acting as an agent of private developers," Berry said. "This is to preserve as sacrosanct private property rights and prevent the government from taking private property except for a public use."
Councilman Berry's office indicates that he has not asked the mayor's office to draft an ordinance; in fact, Councilman Berry has already submitted a draft ordinance (with input from Dana Berliner, a Kelo advocate) to the mayor's office for consideration and a thorough debate.