Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Can Eminent Domain Be Fixed?

From the Star Ledger:

Eminent domain reform bill stirs Assembly debate

"A reform bill designed to end eminent domain abuse got a decidedly mixed reaction yesterday, with critics saying it wouldn't stop municipal officials and developers from running roughshod over property owners."

"The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), would require a more public process for declaring areas "in need of redevelopment" and place limits on how much property could be pulled into such a zone."

"Critics claim that some New Jersey towns have abused the long-standing right to seize blighted property for redevelopment, instead handing thriving businesses and perfectly good homes to politically connected, private developers."

"But others said more substantive reform is needed."

"'New Jersey gets a nod for trying, but given the fact it has been such a major abuser, it will need a lot more reform than you've just described,' said Steve Anderson of the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that has opposes eminent domain for private development."

"The reform bill -- which could be voted out of committee as early as Monday -- would require towns to find displaced homeowners a new house near the redevelopment zone."


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