Palm Beach County, Fla., School District to Seize AIDS Housing to Make Way for School
The Palm Beach County, Fla., School Board voted Wednesday to begin eminent domain proceedings against an apartment complex for indigent people with AIDS, after negotiations with the organization that owns the property reached a "stalemate," the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Eminent domain proceedings let a judge set the sale price for a piece of land and could take up to a year to complete. The school district was negotiating with Hope House of the Palm Beaches to purchase the land in order to build an elementary school, scheduled to open in August 2002. The school district has already spent $2.2 million to purchase the other properties on the five-acre strip of land, some through eminent domain. Although officials would not say "how far apart" the district and Hope House were on the price of the property, they did say that the agency "owes more on the property than its fair market value." Barry Present, director of real estate for the school district, said, "We tried to continue to negotiate with Hope House because we didn't want the publicity and we wanted to be sensitive" to the apartment building's residents. "It's a tough situation on both sides," he added. Mami Kisner, chair of the Hope House board, said that the district indicated that it would build around the apartments, but district representatives said factors such as powerlines prevented that plan from proceeding. "We made a big investment in that property because it was a blighted area, and we feel we put a beacon light in that community," Kisner said. The loss of the eight units will put a "major crimp" in the agency's housing plan, she added (Brochu, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 3/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.