Editorial Opposes Use of Eminent Domain to Give Property to For-Profit Developer
The NorthJersey editorial board opposes a recent use of eminent domain in the borough of Emerson, where the Borough Council recently voted "to seize four properties in the downtown that will enable a for-profit developer to build between 22 and 29 low- to moderate-income apartments … and retail stores, more than 100 additional market-value apartments and a parking garage, if the owners don’t agree to voluntarily sell to the developer."
The editorial rejects the council's claims that the use of eminent domain is justified by the need for affordable housing. The public good that usually justifies the use of eminent domain, it argues, "is hard to see." The city believes it is acting with the blessing of precedents set by New Jersey's Local Redevelopment and Housing Law and the Fair Housing Act. "The attorney for the owners of the targeted land says the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law prohibits a municipality from taking property while the “blight” designation is being legally challenged," according to the editorial.