The “Land Grab” article in The Dallas Observer News on May 3, 2012 creates a much harsher picture of the eminent domain process than what was described in this blog earlier in the week. Rather than simply an expansion for a hospital use, thereby deemed something of a “public” nature and therefore Public Use in many states, Parkland Hospital is purchasing land in order to make a profit. One has to wonder whether this falls within the Public Use standard as contemplated by both the United States and State of Texas Constitutions.
Eminent domain, the principle that allows government to force a landowner to sell, is usually thought of as serving public purposes, like building new highways. But in the last two years Dallas County's public hospital district has been adventuring in a new version — eminent domain for profit.
Acting on a 2008 consultant's proposal, Parkland Memorial Hospital has been acquiring far more land than it requires for its new $1.3 billion hospital building and campus, some of it as far as half a mile from the construction site, which sits two and a half miles northeast of downtown on Harry Hines Boulevard.
Why? So when the value of the land goes up, Parkland can make money.