Manning co-sponsors eminent domain bill

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Don Manning is co-sponsoring legislation to restrict the use of eminent domain by unelected government entities to use for recreational trails.

This is in response to Mill Creek MetroParks seeking to take property by eminent domain from property owners in southern Mahoning County for a bike trail.

“Across the state, we are seeing our constituents caught in lengthy and expensive legal battles to protect their property from government overreach for the purpose of building recreational trails,” Manning, R-New Middletown, said.

The bill would allow those facing eminent domain by an unelected government entity to ask their local legislative authority to veto the use, said state Rep. Steve Hambley, D-Brunswick, who is co-sponsoring the legislation.

“This will empower our constituents by allowing them to go to their local elected officials for assistance and empower our local legislative bodies to provide legitimate protection of property rights,” Hambley said.

The bill hasn’t been assigned to a House committee.

In June 2019, Manning sponsored a bill to prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire land for recreational trails for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, skiing and canoeing. That too came as a result of the ongoing issue between Mill Creek and property owners.

The House Civil Justice Committee had hearings on that bill in September 2019, but it hasn’t moved beyond that.

Manning said the new bill is different in that it gives local control to a government body where eminent domain will be used.