The city of Seattle is forcing a 103-year-old woman to give up her private waterfront parking lot to make way for a city-owned parking lot.
The City Council voted Monday to use its power of eminent domain to acquire the lot owned by Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson, who has repeatedly turned down offers to purchase the property, Q13FOX.com reported.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the city wants to acquire Woldson's property to mitigate the loss of other parking lots during the construction of a $2.1 billion tunnel that will replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
City officials have said that they plan to keep the lot for surface parking, even though city and state transportation documents call for structured parking along Seattle's central waterfront area, including Woldson's lot, the newspaper reported.
Gary Beck, president of Republic Parking Northwest, which operates the lot, told the Puget Sound Business Journal that Woldson once turned down a $20 million-dollar offer for the property.
“It makes no fiscal sense to me to have the city condemn a parking lot to make more parking,” Beck said.
The city has not indicated what they will offer Woldson for the property. She still has the opportunity to challenge the taking and the eventual selling price in court.
Glen Morgan of the Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based free-market think tank, told Q13FOX.com there are several bills moving through the Washington Legislature that would revamp the state's eminent domain laws and extend more rights to property owners.
”In this case, the city of Seattle is using eminent domain to seize a parking lot, so they can use it as a parking lot,” Morgan said. “There’s no public good in that at all.”