NEW LONDON, Conn. – On the banks of the Thames River in eastern Connecticut, property owners are pledging a fight to the finish after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that local governments can seize private property for private economic development.
Residents of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London (search) are saying they won't quietly give up their property, which in many cases has been family-owned for generations.
Richard Beyer (search), one of seven remaining homeowners in the neighborhood, says he'll stay until he is physically removed.
”It’s gonna be a fight," Beyer said. "They've stripped all of us of our American rights to own property. I think everybody in America needs to stand up and say ‘enough’s enough.'”
New London once was a thriving coastal community, but Beyer's neighborhood is now mostly dead space, a scene of weeds growing among stone walls.
Some families, however, have been here for more than 100 years.
“The corner lots here, that’s owned by the Dery family," said Beyer. "The Dery family has lived there since the early 1900s. Now they're being told they have to leave."
The city says that using eminent domain (search) to take people's homes in commercially zoned and sparsely populated areas to build commercial properties — in this case, a luxury hotel and upscale condominiums adjacent to a Pfizer pharmaceutical plant — is necessary for economic survival and benefits the public good.
But Beyer and his neighbors don’t buy it.
"We should not have to give in just so that some developer can come in here and put up a health club or a hotel or a Cosco," said homeowner Michael Cristofaro. "We're just going to stay in our homes, and we're going to fight to the bitter end."
Click in the video box above to watch a report by FOX News’ Erik Liljegren.