PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Trish Graber | March 4th, 2013 - 7:48pm
| More

Measure Provides First Update To NJ Laws Since 2005 Kelo Decision

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Ron Rice that would provide the first update to New Jersey’s eminent domain laws since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, was approved today by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

The bill (S-2447) would create a two-track system for redevelopment, establishing separate requirements for redevelopment projects that would involve condemnation and for those that would not. The purpose of the measure is to provide additional protections to homeowners whose properties may be subject to condemnation, but also to provide for a more streamlined process for municipalities undertaking redevelopment projects that do not involve condemnation.

“Eminent domain is a tool that has been used by governments for decades to obtain private property for a public purpose after providing the property owner with compensation. We have to make sure protections are in place to prevent abuse of this mechanism, while at the same ensuring that municipalities undertaking redevelopment projects to improve local economic conditions are not hamstrung by laws that may cause unnecessary delays,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic).

The Supreme Court approved eminent domain as an exercise of blight removal over 50 years ago. However, the expansive “public use” definition struck by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) caused a firestorm of state legislative action. Kelo involved the removal of residential homes and investment properties through eminent domain that, although not blighted, were located within a blighted redevelopment area. In the case, the court ruled that the "public use" provision of the "takings clause" of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes that provide a public benefit. Forty-four states enacted post-Kelo reform legislation to curb eminent domain abuse. New Jersey is one of the six states that did not pass reform legislation. This bill would be the first legislative update to New Jersey’s redevelopment laws since the Kelo decision.

“It is important that our laws provide flexibility to local governments to be able to complete redevelopment projects in their communities, especially at a time when local economies remain under pressure from the economic recession,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex). “However, when a government plans to use eminent domain as part of their redevelopment strategy there must be additional requirements in place to make residents aware that their properties may be impacted and give them the information they need to take the appropriate action necessary under the law.”

The legislation would require municipalities to advise property owners within a proposed redevelopment area of the municipality’s intent to use or not use eminent domain to facilitate a redevelopment plan at the outset of the redevelopment study as well as to provide specific notice of such designation. Unless a municipality notifies owners of property located in a proposed redevelopment area that the designation will allow the municipality to take property located in the area by eminent domain – or that the proposed area is a Condemnation Redevelopment Area – the “Local Redevelopment Housing Law” would not authorize the use of eminent domain.

The bill would also authorize municipalities that intend to implement redevelopment initiatives without using eminent domain to do so but to still take advantage of the other tools available under the LRHL that encourage and facilitate economic development activities, create job opportunities, increase commerce, and enhance ratable values within their communities during these difficult economic times. This process would require designating the proposed area as a Non-Condemnation Redevelopment Area.

The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Contact Info: 

Trish Graber

Senate Democratic Office

609-847-3700

www.njsendems.com

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 22nd

Winners and Losers: Week of September 15th WINNERS Chris Christie NBC News reported Thursday evening that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined after a nine-month investigation that there is 'no evidence" so far that the governor had advance knowledge about any politically motivated scheme around the bridge lane closures...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

Sports and politics do mix: Welcome the next NFL Commissioner, Condi Rice          There are many sports fans who insist on believing that old bromide that sports and politics do... more »
(9-17-14) Viral Video Prompts Questionable NJ Municipal Ordinance -  Socrates said, “While I might disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"In many ways, Fulop has embraced McGreevey’s granular-level approach to retail politics, racing around the state to raise money for congressional candidates in South Jersey one night, showing up at a Morris County Democratic Party function the next. His administration has also awarded legal work to Weiner Lesniak, the Parsippany-based firm run by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, the Union County Democratic Party power broker." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Who will succeed Gov. Chris Christie as New Jersey's governor?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources