There has been much talk about the Highlands Act and eminent domain. The Fifth Amendment in the Constitution gives us the right to own and use private property and is a keystone of the capitalist system. As with other freedoms, the right is not absolute.
Under eminent domain, private property may be taken when it is for the greater public good. For example, the land might be needed to build a freeway, school or in our case, protecting our water for future generations. The Fifth Amendment guarantees that property owners will receive just compensation for giving up their land.
In 2001 grant money was given for Mount Laurel Park to rehabilitate the tennis and basketball courts. In September of 2006, James Rauth and I walked around (as Terry Duffy, James Warden and Bob Nolan did the year before) and listened to 30 residents. Of the 30 home we visited, 26 were against the skate board park, two were indifferent to the idea and two homes supported it.
I find it ironic that our Republican Council majority are against eminent domain when it comes to the Highlands Act, but are content to force a skateboard park on a majority who oppose it. The West Milford Council should move the skateboard park to Bubbling Springs Park or to the Jungle Habitat property.
West Milford CT Messenger: http://www.strausnews.com