Lost Liberty Hotel:

I see that the Lost Liberty Hotel project is still going. I frankly had assumed that the whole thing was a joke at the time concocted to create media attention around the Kelo issue. In fact, it appears that the sponsors of the hotel are continuing to move forward with the project. They are in the process of collecting petition signatures to place an initiative on the local ballot for the Town of Weare to take Justice Souter's farm and convert it into an inn for purposes of economic development. According to their web site (I haven't independently verified the rules of the Town of Weare for such initiatives), they claim that it only takes 25 signatures on a petition to place an item on the local ballot. They also claim taht 1418 people have pledged to stay at the inn if constructed, which they argue adequately demonstrates the prospect of economic development from construction of the inn.

Given the small number of signatures necessary to place an initiative on the ballot, presumably they will reach the necessary number (they aim to get much more than 25). The petition itself is here. As I read it, the language appears to require the Town Council to exercise its eminent domain power for the designated purpose (rather than simply urging the Town Council to do so). It also creates a trust fund for this purpose, but the language doesn't seem to make the Taking of the property contingent on raising sufficient funds to provide "just compensation."

Thus, as strange as the whole thing seems, it appears that the Lost Liberty Hotel project will be placed on the ballot for the March 2006 Town election. The deadline for submitting the signatures is January 2006. It is hard to imagine that the town's voters actually will approve the project at that time (notwithstanding the optimistic voting projections of the sponsors of the project), but it appears that Justice Souter will have to deal with this headache for at least another few months at least.