By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Several businesses in Clifton Heights sued in federal court Wednesday to stop the city of Cincinnati from taking their property for a development project.
The owners claim the city unfairly declared their neighborhood a "blighted area" to justify seizing their land. The project would remake the Calhoun Street district.
City Council agreed to take the property through eminent domain after a city-sponsored study concluded the neighborhood was blighted.
The lawsuit describes the study as a "sham."
"The city is engaging in reckless and unlawful behavior," said Robert Manley, attorney for the property owners. "The right to own real estate is a civil right, and the city of Cincinnati has forgotten that."
City officials said Wednesday they had not yet seen the lawsuit and would not comment on it.
The city's plans call for new homes and apartment complexes, as well as new commercial development.
Manley said the city is chasing away the owners of viable businesses, not blighted property. Businesses that sued Wednesday include Calhoun Realty and Acropolis Chili.
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