Richmond Highway Widening Project
Eminent Domain - the right of government or its agents to expropriate private property for public use, with payment of compensation.
This is an unsettling situation for many of our businesses located along the Rt.1 corridor that are being affected by the Richmond Highway Widening Project. The part of the definition that is most unsettling is the word compensation. We all know that progress is necessary and we have wanted and waited for road improvements on Rt.1. Now, that it is finally here, we must deal with the taking of private property.
I am not a stranger to this situation. My father’s place of business was taken by Eminent Domain when he was in his fifties. The entire business parcel plus acres of meadowland was needed for an exit road leading from Interstate 79 that was being constructed going west towards Charleston WV. It was tough ‘cause how do you compensate somebody when you put them out of business?
I am encouraged after listening to reps from Fairfax County talk about the process at our March business breakfast. The Lion’s share of the road project budget was earmarked for compensating business owners with buy-outs and/or relocation efforts. A recent meeting with Supervisor Jeff McKay also gives me hope, as it was obvious that he is on top of this project and carefully watching the impact on the business/property owners in Lee District.
It will be a tough and drawn out process. What I can tell you is that the Chamber is gearing up to support our members as the process moves forward. Watch our website for a blog we are creating where those affected can communicate with each other and we can give you updates as members of our Legislative Committee, Board, and our Executive Director attend meetings, ask questions and work hard to keep you informed.
Progress is something we desire and fear as we can never know for sure how the final outcome might change our lives forever.