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The long-standing eminent-domain debate drew national attention after the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in the case of Kelo v. City of New London, Conn.

New London resident Susette Kelso brought the case against the city after her house was moved to make way for economic redevelopment — a plan that ultimately was abandoned when the developer couldn’t secure financing.

Still, the court ruled that benefits to the community qualified the plans as permissible public use under the “takings clause” of the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without just compensation.

Another issue for the Municipal League in Virginia is that the amendment would bar eminent domain if the purpose is for “increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue or economic development.”

When a locality and a landowner negotiate a price to buy land, for example, the government typically will pay fair market value.

But if a court rules that the state constitution means eminent domain cannot be used for the purpose of economic development, the Municipal League argues, then the fair market standard is voided and the landowner dictates the price.

Still, Mr. Bell said, the impetus was to protect property owners.

“The local governments were certainly opposed to the original statute and claimed it would bring along the end of the world,” he said. “Of course, it hasn’t. … We’re certainly hopeful that property owners will protect themselves.”