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March 18, 2008

NY State takes up eminent domain, sort of

Atlantic Yards Report

A State Bar task force on eminent domain passes on blight but urges transparency


New York State, long seen as hospitable to eminent domain, has achieved no reforms [since the backlash to the US Supreme Cout's Kelo decision]. However, some mild reforms have been recommended by a Special Task Force on Eminent Domain organized by the New York State Bar Association. One, had it been in place, might have caused a second look at Atlantic Yards, given an emphasis on transparency in the selection of a developer.

Another recommendation by the task force, that the state appoint a commission to research and debate some outstanding issues like the proper scope of a public project, has languished, though perhaps the new Paterson administration might consider it.

Why David Paterson should appoint a state commission on eminent domain
Norman Oder goes out on a limb by calling on the new Governor to appoint a commission on eminent domain (ya think?):

That overhyped front-page banner headline last Friday in the conservative New York Sun, Paterson Could Derail Development: Opposes Use of Eminent Domain, put an issue on the table that accidental Governor David Paterson probably doesn't want to touch right now.

After all, his last public statement on the issue was more than two years ago and he has more pressing issues on the agenda than fighting the Columbia expansion plan in Harlem or the Atlantic Yards project, which is likely why he has said he won't change course on AY.

That said, there’s a logical, constructive, and politically safe step he could take. It would honor the sentiments he expressed in 2005 but at the same time not alarm those who want to make sure that governments retain the power to exercise eminent domain for true public use.

He should establish a Temporary State Commission on Eminent Domain to address questions like the extent of eminent domain abuse in the state as well as a revised definition of public use, an issue at the heart of the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case.

Posted by lumi at March 18, 2008 5:29 AM