- Stevens Institute of Technology
- Pay to Play
- Content Research Area
- Quality of Life Issues
- OPRA (Open Public Records Act)
- Bribes, Payoffs, and Politics
- Letters to the Editor
- Voter Information
- OPMA (Open Public Meetings Act)
- FREE SPEECH and INTERNET ISSUES
- Eminent Domain
- Governor Corzine
- Lawsuits and Legal Actions
- Hoboken News
- Health Issues
- Employment Opportunities
- Regionalize and Shared Services
- Investigations (Restricted Access)
- Public Official Report Card
- Political Commentary
- Payments In Lieu of Taxes
- Consumer Issues
- Affordable Housing
- 2006 N.J. U.S. Senate Race
- U.S. Senator Robert Menendez
- Homeland Security
- NJ NY Port Authority
- R.I.C.O. Act
- Editorials - New Jersey Newspapers
- POG - People for OPen Government
- Investigative Agencies
- Hoboken City Council Video
- Presidential Election 2008
- Investigative Report
- Area Event Calendar
- Presedential electiom 2008
- New Jersey League of Municipalities
- NJ State Court System
- National Politics
- Social Interaction
- Shrink for Men
- Governor Chris Christie
- Tenant Rights
- NJ League of Municipalities
- NYC GROUND ZERO
- Political Figures
- Health Care
- Hoboken Lawsuits
- Featured News
- IRS TAX RELIEF
- Federal Budget
- Healthcare Fraud
- New Jersey For Profit Hospitals
- Hudson County Emergency Medical Services
Public Advocate: Legal muscle needed to stop land-taking abuses
- Categorized in: Eminent Domain
Public Advocate: Legal muscle needed to stop land-taking abuses
Tuesday, May 29, 2007 ASSOCIATED PRESS
Public Advocate's report on the use of eminent domain
TRENTON, N.J. -- State laws that allow governments to take land for private redevelopment are being misused and need to be reformed to protect private property owners, the public advocate said in a report released Tuesday.
Public Advocate Ronald L. Chen urged the Legislature in his report to stem the abuses that violate private property owners' rights by amending the state's overly broad redevelopment laws.
"New Jersey's laws governing the use of eminent domain for private redevelopment are written in a way that leads to abuse," Chen said in the report. "When the government misuses this important redevelopment tool, people can lose their homes without real evidence that their neighborhood is blighted, without adequate notice or hearings, and without fair compensation."
Under eminent domain, governments have the power to seize private property to create public projects such as schools or to promote revitalization through private economic redevelopment.
Chen's report does not address the use of eminent domain for public projects.
There have been efforts to restrict the use of eminent domain after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 gave wide latitude to local governments wanting to seize homes to make way for a commercial use. More than half the states have enacted reforms, according to federal data, but so far nothing has become law in New Jersey.
A poll taken by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind in November showed that most New Jersey voters disapproved of the ability of governments to take land via eminent domain.
In the poll, voters were asked to consider four scenarios under which local and state governments might seize private property; none was supported by a majority.
The plan that drew the fewest objections would have "dilapidated properties" replaced by better housing and shops. Only two in seven voters said it was acceptable to raze houses and shops for a new school, while one in six said it was OK for active farmland to be taken to build a new school or ball field. Nine in 10 voters said it was not acceptable to take middle-class housing and replace it with "upscale condos and shops."
Tuesday's report was Chen's second on eminent domain abuses. Last year his office called for greater protections for tenants and property owners.
Asked Tuesday what changes he hoped the reports would spur, Chen said, "I'm very optimistic that the Legislature will enact reforms that will address the issues and potential for abuses we've highlighted in this report."
For the most recent report, the Public Advocate's Office looked at specific court cases involving misuses of eminent domain, concluding that the system was rife with abuse. For example:
In Passaic, one property owner lost a lot without ever knowing the town had condemned and sold the land to another private party. He found out about the sale only when he tried to pay his property taxes.
In Long Branch, the city offered one homeowner about $180,000 for a five bedroom beachfront home that had been condemned. A jury later awarded the homeowner $500,000 for the home.
In Edison, a court ruled that local officials had scant evidence backing up their blight designation in one neighborhood: a pothole, a few cracks and a gutter that needed cleaning.
The Public Advocate's Office has filed friend of the court briefs in several cases, but Chen said it's difficult to gauge the prevalence of eminent domain abuse since many victims cannot afford to fight back.
Chen has been working with the Legislature on three areas of reform: tightening the definition of "blight," the condition that can affect the health and safety of a community; making the process for using eminent domain more fair and open; and requiring compensation at levels that would allow people to stay in their own communities.
The Assembly passed eminent domain reform legislation a year ago. The measure remains stalled in the Senate.
New comments are currently disabled.
Email to Friend
Fill in the form below to send this article to a friend:
- HAS PREDATORY HEALTH CARE LENDING COME TO HOBOKEN?
- The Emotionally Abusive Personality: Is She a Borderline or a Narcissist?
- Withholding Sex as a Form of Punishment
- Don't Marry Essay. Why Marriage Has Become a Raw Deal for Men
- NJ Business Facts
- What the Parking/Transportation industry is saying about Hoboken's Automated Garage
- You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig
- Hoboken Board of Education
Recent Employment Opportunities
- Technology Consultant - City of Hoboken
- Finance Director City of Hoboken
- ELECTRICAL INSPECTOR
- Civil Service Commission Seeks Entry-Level Firefighter Applicants Applications for the entry-level Firefighter Test will be accepted for 70 municipalities and other local jurisdictions
- Senior Accountant: Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
- City of Hoboken - Fire Department Audit
- Hoboken: ZONING OFFICER