Timothy Sandefur has an interesting article on emiment domain. Why do cities want so-called big box stores within their jurisdictions? Simple answer: sales tax revenue. In fact, in California at least, local governments thrive off alternative revenue with which to gain control over local discretionary spending (I won't go into all the background on the State of California's property tax laws and the centralization of financing sources here). Putting up big retail commercial outlets and auto malls helps. The local governments basically engage in the "fiscalization of land use," where land-use decisions are made based on channeling growth in the direction of increasing revenues over public service costs. Hence, the preference of commercial development over residential development. Worse still, the local governments have an enormous say in all real estate development projects -- what the developers build, where they build it and how long (literally years) it takes to jump over all the development hurdles (zoning restrictions, fees, public services financing, permits, inspections, etc).
The result is that private property owners don't really get to use their private property
. They get to use it for purposes the local government accepts. That's not freedom. Just because the local government isn't taking the bulldozer to your shack (something that can be seen), doesn't mean it isn't limiting your freedoms (unseen choice alternatives).
The opportunity costs
of this tyranny are incalculable.link