Voters overwhelmingly gave the okay to a constitutional amendment on eminent domain. Under the new law, the government is now limited in how it can take private property through this practice. The land must be used for public use for parks, roads or schools.
The amendment was inspired by a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that gave governments broad powers to seize private property for economic development.
Two years later, the General Assembly passed limitations on the use of eminent domain.
Opponents say those limitations were enough to protect property owners.
The amendment had been championed by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who was surprised by the big number of voters.
"I know Virginia best and I've never seen the effort of the turnout that we're seeing tonight. It's very encouraging, i mean for all Virginians." said Cuccinnelli.
Nicole Riley, the state director of the national federation of independent business released a statement saying in part, "The people of Virginia made it clear to state and local officials that taking away someone's property so someone else can develop it is just plain wrong."
The new law starts January 1.
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