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Court Reverses NJ Eminent-Domain Ruling

by PETER THORNE | wpix.com

7:32 PM EDT, April 17, 2010


A New Jersey appeals court has pulled the plug on one of the state's longest-running eminent domain disputes.

A three judge panel reversed claims Friday by the city of Long Branch that a downtown area was blighted and in need of re-development.

Eminent domain is when the government takes private land for public use or redevelopment in exchange for a "fair price."

The dispute dates back to 1996 when the city first declared its intention to condemn several properties along the Broadway corridor and property owners sued the city. In a similar case settled last year, homeowners in a different part of Long Branch won a court battle, and were awarded over 400-thousand-dollars in legal fees from the city.

Businessweek Magazine reports that "the appellate court said Long Branch didn't satisfy stricter eminent domain standards created by a state Supreme Court ruling in a 2007 case in Paulsboro, in southern New Jersey." The magazine says because "Long Branch initially relied on a redevelopment study in 1996, well before the Paulsboro ruling, the city will be allowed to resubmit a development plan."