Could Property Owners Sue if Cincinnati Cancels its Streetcar?

The cancellation of Cincinnati's under-construction streetcar became a real possibility this month with the election of Mayor John Cranley. Could property owners and businesses who expected a boost from its arrival sue if it's cancelled?

Although "developers are already lining up" along Cincinnati's new 3.6-mile streetcar route and a recent report from the project's executive director estimates that it would cost nearly as much to cancel the project as to complete it, the chances that new Mayor John Cranley proceeds with promises to kill the project appear to be strong.  

Chris Wetterich looks at the legal case for whether "property and business owners along the streetcar route could sue and win a case against the city."

"It will be difficult for those property owners to make their case," he explains, "but there’s legal concepts they can use to try to make their claim. Those property owners' case rests within the confines of two common law concepts: 'Reliance-based claims' and 'third party beneficiary claims.'"

"In court, the key will be whether downtown and Over-the-Rhine property owners were intended to be the direct beneficiaries of the streetcar or whether the benefits they would receive simply were incidental."

What other "calamities" could the city face if it chooses to cancel the streetcar? Wetterich looks at 10.

Full Story: If property owners and businesses sue over the streetcar, do they have a case?


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