Imagine you come home from work one day to a notice on your front door that you have 45 days to demolish your house, or the city will do it for you. Oh, and you’re paying for it.
This is happening right now in Montgomery, Ala., and here is how it works: The city decides it doesn’t like your property for one reason or another, so it declares it a “public nuisance.” It mails you a notice that you have 45 days to demolish your property, at your expense, or the city will do it for you (and, of course, bill you)….
The city wants to clear and ultimately sell-off the property of lower-income, mostly black Alabamans to higher-income developers, but it can’t do that through the state’s eminent domain law. So it found a backdoor, which also incidentally does not require the city to compensate property owners for their loss, but instead charges them.