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Eminent Domain

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NEWS
March 1, 2006
WITH SO MUCH at stake for a person who loses a small business to eminent domain, a thorough and thoughtful process is needed to ease the disruption experienced by the owner. Key to the process? Clear and timely communication by the powerful governmental entities that can take land for public projects. Communication was missing in the case of Ed and Debbie Munoz. The couple's corner grocery store and garden center in Juniata Park was included in land set for redevelopment. As reported yesterday by the Daily News' Dave Davies, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has ruled that the city broke the law when it failed to tell the Munozes they could get counseling on their business options and were entitled to relocation expenses.
NEWS
November 13, 2006
Basically, when a governing body deploys "redevelopment," the owners of a property that is condemned must sell it to the designated redeveloper. They don't get to set the sales price. They can't refuse to sell. They are forced to sell. The only way they can keep it is to go to court and have a judge decide they have more right to their property than the corporation that is trying to take it away from them through eminent-domain abuse. This is prohibitively expensive for most individuals, and so, in a lot of instances, they sell to avoid the legal expense, emotional drain, and uncertainty of how the judge will decide.
NEWS
February 18, 2000 | By Marc Levy, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
The township has spent at least $53,600 in fees to fight a lawsuit brought by the former owner of a two-story building in Browns Mills taken by eminent domain. After a one-month standoff between Township Solicitor John C. Gillespie and three individuals who filed public-information requests, Gillespie allowed the payment records to be released at last night's Township Council meeting. "I think now is the time to set the record straight," he said before the meeting in a telephone interview.
NEWS
February 7, 2006 | By Tina Moore INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Philadelphia agency violated the separation of church and state when it condemned a woman's home and gave it to a religious organization, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. Commonwealth Court said in its 4-3 ruling that the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority erred in employing its power of eminent domain in 2003 to condemn Mary Smith's property in a blighted North Philadelphia neighborhood. The city gave the land to the Hope Partnership for Education for construction of a middle school.
NEWS
June 13, 2006 | By Elisa Ung INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
After a four-month review of how the most densely populated state allows the seizure of land for private redevelopment, key Democratic lawmakers are working on legislation that would tighten the criteria for exercising eminent domain and require more public notification. Builders and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities cheered the proposal, while property owners, Republicans, and the state's public advocate said it did not go far enough to curb eminent-domain abuse. "The real question is: What will this do to stop the abuse taking place now?
NEWS
January 11, 2006 | By Porus P. Cooper INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A long-running dispute in Haddon Township involving the threatened use of eminent domain for a redevelopment project took an unexpected and bitter turn this week with the death of a key opponent. Patrick W. Fritzsche, 53, owner of Pat's Pub in Westmont, died Sunday, four days after he made an emotional appearance before the Board of Commissioners to ask why health inspectors and police had shown up at his bar to investigate anonymous complaints after years of giving it a clean bill of health.
NEWS
February 21, 2006
Local governments seeking to spur revival of blighted areas and increase tax revenue sometimes invoke their powers of eminent domain, or condemnation, to acquire private property and then sell it to a redeveloper. Camden and Haddon Township are making such efforts. Do you approve or disapprove? Would you approve the use of eminent domain by your town to take your neighbor's property if that holds down your taxes? Please share your views in 250 words or fewer. E-mail us by March 3 at sjvoices@phillynews.
NEWS
May 30, 2006 | By Ronald K. Chen
Eminent domain is one of the most awesome powers Americans have entrusted to government. It is therefore crucial that the laws governing its use ensure a just and transparent process that fully protects the rights of tenants and property owners. This is particularly important when eminent domain is used for private redevelopment because, in these cases, the opportunities for misuse, abuse and injustice are often even greater. Unfortunately, current laws: Allow for the use of eminent domain in areas that do not meet the constitutional requirement of a "blighted area.
NEWS
July 28, 1988 | By Dominic Sama, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Radnor Township commissioners have moved a step closer to a possible court confrontation on the right of eminent domain in the laying of a sewer pipeline across the property of an owner who opposes the project. The commissioners voted unanimously Monday night for preliminary approval of a plan to subdivide 10.695 acres into 10 building lots at 685 Newtown Rd. The property is owned by Thomas Sansone. Percolation tests on Sansone's property have disclosed that on-site sewers are not feasible and that a public sewer would have to be installed to serve the homes.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
June 17, 2016 | By David O'Reilly, Staff Writer
Margate is throwing in the beach towel and ending its long and expensive challenge to New Jersey's dune project. City officials confirmed Wednesday that they would not appeal a judge's April ruling that the state may seize municipal and private properties to create protective sand dunes along the beachfront. "On the advice of a lot of people, the [city] commissioners agreed unanimously that the risk/reward was not there in respect to taking it any further," said Richard Deaney, Margate's business manager.
NEWS
April 24, 2016
Miller's Valley By Anna Quindlen Random House. 257 pp. $28 Reviewed by Kim Ode W hen society's volume seems cranked to 11, there's something to be said about a quiet book. Understated almost to a fault, Anna Quindlen's eighth novel pulls together themes of rural life, Vietnam, mental illness, eminent domain, abortion, and ambition in prose that never shouts yet still explores a family's depths. We meet Mimi Miller as a child growing up in Miller Valley, the family history flowing across the land as surely as the ever-flooding creek.
NEWS
April 13, 2016 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Staff Writer
In the contentious battle over Gov. Christie's desire to build dunes along the entire coast of New Jersey, a judge in Atlantic County ruled Monday that the state may seize 87 municipally owned parcels in Margate needed to restart a $40 million shore protection project. Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez said the state's use of eminent domain was "not arbitrary and capricious" or an abuse of the state's power. In the 65-page ruling, Mendez wrote that the Army Corps of Engineers' plan had been developed over six years, involved numerous experts working thousands of hours, and was adopted by Congress.
NEWS
March 15, 2016
ISSUE | ENVIRONMENT Gas from fracking is not the answer Finally, the subject of fracking for natural gas made it into a presidential debate. During the Democratic debate on March 6, Hillary Clinton emphasized her stance on fracking as viable, on the conditions that methane pollution is addressed and our water is kept free from contamination ("Sanders, Clinton crank up the heat," Monday). What Clinton failed to address was the specter of saddling my generation and generations to come with a future tied to fossil fuels.
NEWS
February 12, 2016 | By Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer
A Philadelphia judge has ruled that an environmental advocacy group and Delaware County landowners can proceed with legal action to try to stop Sunoco Pipeline from using eminent domain for its latest project. "This is a great victory for Pennsylvania residents and landowners," Joseph Otis Minott, executive director and chief counsel of the Clean Air Council, said in a statement Wednesday. Sunoco is expected to appeal the ruling to Superior Court. Common Pleas Court Judge Linda Carpenter ruled last week that the Clean Air Council and a Delaware County couple could pursue their lawsuit against Sunoco.
NEWS
January 23, 2016 | By Jessica Parks, Staff Writer
Montgomery County moved forward Thursday with its approximately $250 million Norristown expansion plan, approving use of eminent domain to acquire a building housing a bank and offices. Meeting in Norristown, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to force the owner of 43 E. Main St. to sell. Officials said this would be the only property subject to eminent domain. The targeted parcel is tucked in the corner of the courthouse footprint and currently is leased to a Wells Fargo branch and a few office tenants.
NEWS
December 15, 2015 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
Leveling a city block in downtown Camden to build a "health sciences" campus, the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors has begun flexing its muscle, making clear the scope of its mission and powers. Less than two years since its creation, the board also has funded diabetes research and steered federal grant money to training and jobs program. The most tangible evidence is the demolition work on the block diagonally across from the Walter Rand Transportation Center - a block that the joint board has nearly finished acquiring, in part using eminent domain.
NEWS
December 11, 2015 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Daily News reported Dec. 10 that businessman Kelvin Polanco and his mother had paid $110,000 for a building on Oxford Street at 24th in North Philadelphia. City records available online show that Polanco purchased the property for $18,000 on Jan. 10, 2012. Polanco maintains that the $18,000 was a final payment out of $110,000 he paid in cash over several years. However, in a sworn affidavit filed with the recorder of deeds, Polanco twice certified that the full purchase price of the property was $18,000.
NEWS
October 11, 2015 | By Jonathan Lai and Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Staff Writers
MARGATE, N.J. - They've been criticized by Gov. Christie as "amongst the most selfish people in the state of New Jersey" because they oppose man-made dunes in their city. And on Thursday, the governor took legal action, filing for eminent domain for beachfront easements. On Friday, residents of Margate pushed back. In interviews, beachfront property owners and their neighbors said the governor doesn't understand the issue. A defense against storms already exists, they stressed - a bulkhead along the beach that has guarded them through many a storm.
NEWS
October 10, 2015 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
MARGATE, N.J. - A week after calling this well-heeled beach town "selfish" for refusing to give up land needed for the state's dune project, Gov. Christie on Thursday moved to give Margate no choice. The state said it had filed an eminent domain action against the City of Margate to gain access to city-owned beachfront easements needed for the project. The city's opposition has caused the Army Corps of Engineers to abort plans for dunes for Ventnor, Margate, and Longport. Prior to the filing, the state had offered Margate $29,000 for nine beachfront easements, based on an appraisal, the city said.
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