Real Estate & Property Law

Condemnation Thriving in N.J., N.Y.

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Forty states have passed laws to curb eminent domain powers since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2005 that cities may seize land for private economic development.

But strong protection bills have failed to pass in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the New York Times reports.

“New Jersey and New York are among the worst states in the country for eminent domain abuses—New Jersey is really awful,” said Dana Berliner, a lawyer at the Institute for Justice, which represents property owners.

Lawmakers in New York passed two laws banning specific projects but did not approve broader legislation. No legislation passed in New Jersey, although a Supreme Court ruling there held cities can’t seize land simply because another use could be more productive. Connecticut passed a law barring land seizures primarily to increase local tax revenues, but allowing tax considerations to be a secondary cause.

Inaction is a concern to Lori Ann Vendetti, who is fighting efforts to seize her Long Branch, N.J., home to make way for luxury condominiums.

“If they’re going to take it from me, they’re going to take it with a fight,” she told the newspaper.

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