HAMPTON -- Frank Ottofaro didn't live to see Virginia voters approve putting limits on the government's ability to take private property through eminent domain.
For a decade, he spoke out at Hampton City Council meetings and took the city to court when his land on Pine Chapel Road was taken in 2000 for a road. The City wanted it for what is now the Power Plant development.
At the end of court battles, the Supreme Court of Virginia upheld the City's actions, finding that the condemnation supported of a public purpose and that the Council’s resolution properly authorized the actions taken.
He was eventually offered $170,000 for two lots and a house that were razed. He wanted a million dollars. Several other property owners settled with the city as well.
Ottofaro's fight helped set the stage for the constitutional amendment approved by Virginia voters Tuesday night.
His son, Frank Jr., says his father would be pleased. He's posted videos on YouTube of his father challenging City Council.
Supporters said property rights are so fundamental that they should be enshrined in the state Constitution.
Opponents warned that passage could cost state and local governments tens of millions of dollars. They said a 2007 was sufficient to protect property owners.