Yonkers agency considers taking Ravine Avenue property through eminent domain
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Wednesday 10 November 2010 10:00 AM

From LoHud.com

faxless payday loans


YONKERS — The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency is considering forcibly buying a Ravine Avenue property from its owner to turn it over to an affordable housing developer.

The YIDA will hold a public hearing on Nov. 18 on 67 Ravine Ave., a property the agency may acquire through the state’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law.

Eminent domain allows a city to force an owner to sell private property for a public use, such as a park.

In this case, the YIDA argues that the public use will be the creation of approximately 64 units of affordable housing.

The $20 million, six-story building is proposed to be built at 47-75 Ravine Ave. by Ravine Rental Associates LLC, a partnership between the Yonkers-based CURE Development and the Larchmont-based L&M Development Partners.

CURE Development is finishing work on a 12-unit, $3 million development at 304 Warburton Ave., while L&M Development Partners is working on a $51 million, 170-unit building at 314-40 Riverdale Ave.

Both projects are affordable-housing developments.

The property at 67 Ravine Ave. is currently owned by the estate of Anthony Fraioli.

Rental apartments in the proposed complex would be restricted to households earning less than 60 percent of Westchester County’s median income, which in 2010 is $73,300 for a one-person household.

The YIDA’s public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall, 40 S.

Eminent Domain in Coal Country Called a Billion-Dollar Land Grab
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Friday 29 October 2010 12:11 PM

From Courthouse News Service

faxless payday loans


WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (CN) – With help from a law office, Pennsylvania and a county redevelopment agency abused their condemnation powers to help a coal company get its hands on billions of dollars worth of coal deposits, the Borough of Centralia and its citizens say in a federal class action. Centralia claims the conspirators used the pretext of an underground fire to make a land grab: a gross abuse of their powers of eminent domain.

“The original government pretense, if indeed it was ever legitimate, has long since expired,” the complaint states. “In short, the purported ‘Centralia Mine Fire,’ which allegedly threatened the Borough of Centralia, no longer provides, or never did provide, a viable explanation for the application of government power (exercise of eminent domain) and the taking of these American citizens’ property.” (Parentheses in complaint.)

“These defendants covet billions of dollars worth of extremely valuable anthracite coal which lies beneath the surface of the Borough of Centralia. These persons and entities, by and through political connections and the manipulation of governmental agencies and entities, are, among other things, illegally taking the property of the plaintiffs through the unlawful use of government police power.”

The complaint continues: “Plaintiffs allege that their rights are being violated by abusive government officials and entities, in concert with private persons, and that they have been exploited by the defendants to accomplish their unlawful ends. The persistent efforts of this private/government enterprise have resulted in a massive and continuing fraud reflective of both civil and criminal RICO violations. Perhaps the most succinct characterization of this process is expressed in the wisdom of the Hon. Scott Naus of the Court of Common Pleas of Columbia County when he obviously questioned, through the choice of his words, the basis for the suspicious rush to judgment by individuals and government entities who were purportedly seeking to respond to the dangers of a fire that has never materialized as a threat to Centralia. The fire has never been investigated. No court has ever held a hearing to determine whether the fire is, or ever was, a threat to the Borough or these plaintiffs. Despite pervasive conflicts in the ‘evidence’ of the alleged ‘threat’ posed by the fires, and the additional evidence of questionable political rationales, the fire that has never reached, and will never reach, Centralia has been allowed to act as an engine of private aggrandizement resulting in the unlawful denigration of citizens’ rights.”

The class claims that hundreds of fires occur in Pennsylvania abandoned mines, particularly the anthracite coal mining region in and around northeast Pennsylvania. The so-called “Centralia Mine Fire” started in 1962 in an abandoned coal stripping pit that Centralia used as a trash dump.

The class adds that any evidence that the fire actually endangered Centralia was “contrived,” and that “no court has ever held a hearing to determine whether the fire is, or ever was, a threat,” that “certainly it does not threaten Centralia now and is retreating at its worst.”

The class claims the defendants – including the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority and the Rosenn Jenkins and Greenwald law office – used the underground fire as a pretext for a “massive fraud designed to acquire access to the coal under the condemned area.”

The class claims the Borough owns all the coal beneath it and the defendants cannot get their hands on the coal unless Centralia ceases to exist.

The class claims the fraud was carried out by Rosenn, Jenkins and Greenwald on behalf of it client, co-defendant Blaschak Coal Co., in corporation with government entities and individuals, including Rosenn, Jenkins attorneys John Zelinka and Gary Taroli, and Steven Fishman, spokesman and counsel for the defendant state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Rosenn, Jenkins has represented various predecessors in interest of Blaschak, which have asserted rights to the coal since the 1980s, the class says. Blaschak has significant holdings in the condemned area, including roughly 52.8 acres of surface rights in Centralia.

The class claims that any “examination of the applicable maps showing the geology and water table in the area would demonstrate that the ‘Centralia Mine Fire’ would never, and could never reach Centralia.”

They say that the state and county agencies claim to be protecting Centralia through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Act from the “alleged raging presence of an oncoming fire, but there is no evidence to support the position that the fire presented a real and present unabatable hazard to any of the residents.”

The class adds: “Plaintiffs believe and aver that sometime during the course of the efforts to extinguish the fires that a plan was hatched among and between RJG, Nogard, Blaschak, and their principals to use the fire as a pretext to justify the removal of all the residents of the Borough, and, as such, to extinguish the Borough, so that access to billions of dollars worth of coal under the Borough of Centralia and Conyngham Township could be mined. Plaintiffs further believe and aver that this conspiracy also involved a number of local and state public officials, and other private persons, all of whose identities are not yet known, but will be developed through discovery.”

They add: “(T)he fire that has never reached, and will never reach, Centralia has been allowed to act as an engine of private aggrandizement resulting in the unlawful denigration of citizens’ rights.”

The class claims that Rosenn, Jenkins knew about the tremendous coal vein 20 years after the “Centralia Mine Fire” began, but before the class knew the coal existed, when it made a claim to the subsurface mineral rights under Centralia in 1981, while representing the Nogard Coal Co.

In 1983, the class says, the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines Office of Surface Mining “issued a report trumpeting the dangers” of what it called the “Centralia Mine Fire.”

That same year the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority, as agent for the Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs, “started a voluntary relocation effort for the citizens of Centralia Borough, although the fire is believed to never have existed under the Borough.”

The class claims that citizens of Centralia agreed to settlements because they felt threatened – but they felt threatened because they had been misled about the fire and were unaware of the coal deposits beneath them.

Four hundred of approximately 465 properties were transferred through a “voluntary program,” leaving owners of roughly 60 properties to face formal eminent domain proceedings – all of which were filed in the Columbia County Court of Common Pleas in 1993.

Never in any proceedings was the basis or necessity for the use of eminent domain in Centralia ever explained, the class claims.

As “irrefutable evidence” that the defendants knew there was no real threat from the fire, even as they bought out the residents of the borough, the class says that Blaschak “built a warehouse for mining activities literally right across the Borough line in or around 2004, within the purported fire impact area. Upon information and belief, this facility is to be a hub for mining activity in the Borough after it ceases to exist.”

They add that this “reflected the inside track that RJG’s clients had on manipulating the condemnation issues.”

The class claims that Rosenn, Jenkins and its clients bought them out on the cheap, because they were “feeling threatened, and being misled about the dangers of the fire.”

The complaint continues: “None of these were aware of the incredible value of the coal beneath them nor that there were plans to acquire the coal and mine in the Borough, although the approximate $90,000 amount received by a former Centralia mayor for her property, an amount believed to be far in excess of the values offered to other residents, suggests that persons other than the named defendants, all additionally to be determined through discovery, were complicit in the scheme.”

The class claims their property has been illegally taken through unlawful use of government police power and exercise of eminent domain. It seeks injunctive relief and punitive damages for conspiracy, fraud, civil and criminal misconduct, violations of due process and equal protection, punitive damages.

The class is represented by Don Bailey of Harrisburg


You can find a PDF copy of the filings at the bottom of the story posted on The Courthouse News Website
faxless payday loans

Harlem activists seek eminent domain law reform
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 19 October 2010 1:56 PM

From The Columbia Spectator

faxless payday loans


As the controversy over Columbia’s proposed expansion plays out in the court system, some critics are arguing that the legal system that gave the University a green light is deeply flawed.

Attorneys and neighborhood activists gathered on Saturday at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for a conference called “Columbia University’s ‘Land Grab’ and its Impact on Harlem and Beyond: A Case of Power, Greed, and Corruption.” While most discussions up to this point have honed in on the legal aspects of this court case, the panelists also debated the scientific, political, and socioeconomic issues associated with the University’s intended 17-acre campus expansion in Manhattanville.

This weekend’s discussion came on the heels of a significant court case in which the New York State Court of Appeals declared this summer that eminent domain—the process by which the state can seize private property for “public use” in exchange for market-rate compensation—can be used to obtain private properties in West Harlem. This ruling was a major victory for Columbia, as it effectively paved the way for the University to acquire the remaining private property in the neighborhood.

Now, the attorneys representing two property holdouts, who have refused to sell to Columbia, are appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the decision promotes an abuse of eminent domain law and violates fundamental constitutional rights.

One of the two attorneys­—Norman Siegel, representing Tuck-it-Away Self Storage owner and property hold out Nick Sprayregen—spoke at the conference, explaining this same argument to an audience of about 40 people in a discussion called “New Challenge of Eminent Domain in the U.S. Supreme Court.” But he went beyond the basics, offering several recommendations to fix what he calls the broken system of New York state eminent domain procedure law.

Siegel expressed concern with the current legal definition of “blight”—the condition of disrepair beyond the potential for natural relief. Though designation of an area as blighted is necessary to invoke eminent domain, Siegel said that vagueness in the language of the definition favors developers as it stands.

“Vagueness invites subjectivity, subjectivity invites selective enforcement, and selective enforcement invites favoritism,” he said. “The state legislature needs to hold public hearings soliciting public comments so that it can draft better laws clearly spelling out what constitutes blight in the context of the use of eminent domain.”

Siegel also proposed reforming the process to challenge eminent domain. He noted that in New York state, unlike in every other state in the country, there is no trial court in eminent domain cases allowing a private property owner to cross-examine the developer. Rather, the case automatically begins in an appellate court.

In addition to being revised to provide trial court cases, Siegel also proposed that New York’s eminent domain law be changed to prohibit a government agency responsible for approving the use of eminent domain from hiring the same consulting firm to conduct a blight study that the developer of the project has also hired.

“There’s something terribly wrong with that system, and yet that’s what happened in the Columbia situation,” he said, referring to the collusion that he argues occurred between the University and the firm that carried out the blight study.

Christina Walsh, director of activism and coalitions at the Institute for Justice, echoed Siegel’s point, explaining that vaguely defined terms favor developers and disproportionately impact low-income black residents.

“We see bogus blight happening across the state using vague criteria, even when the developer himself causes the blight, even when the city causes the blight,” Walsh said, adding that in a study conducted of 1,000 eminent domain projects, two-thirds of the people displaced were black.

But developers, city government agencies, and consulting firms are not the only ones to blame, according to Tom DeMott, CC ’80 and a member of the local activist group Coalition to Preserve Community. In his talk, “The People’s Struggle against Columbia University’s Expansion,” he discussed another set of stakeholders who he says have been at fault throughout this court battle: politicians.

“When you get a ruling like that [the Court of Appeals decision] and when there’s been opposition for eight years, you would think the elected officials might get off their asses and do something about it,” DeMott said.

Local elected officials’ compliance with the University’s plans, he said, have allowed local residents to “be victims of eminent domain.”

Audience members said the panels taught them a lot about the expansion.

“I’m very perturbed right now,” West Harlem resident William Greene, who lives near the footprint of the expansion, said in an interview. “I learned today that we need a lot more public outcry. People haven’t been heard.”

Eminent Domain An Imminent Threat To Homes On Rail Corridor
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 12 October 2010 3:30 PM

From The Palo Alto Patch

faxless payday loans


Dozens of concerned, anxious residents packed into Palo Alto City Hall Tuesday night to pepper a legal expert with questions about eminent domain and the high-speed rail project–which some realtors say is already hurting home values. Andrew Turner, a partner in Turner & Turner, a law firm specializing in eminent domain litigation, described a multitude of circumstances in which homeowners and business owners might have to relocate to make room for the bullet train’s wider footprint. “Folks seem very serious and concerned about high-speed rail,” Turner said. “The questions had a lot to do with how the impact of the project would be considered in appraising the remaining properties, and also questions about whether folks whose property will not actually be acquired for the project will have any sort of claim for inverse.” Indeed, some realtors are complaining that the train project is already forcing down home values. “Just by the rumor of this high-speed rail, the property values have gone down,” said realtor Chris Klovdahl, of Palo Alto’s Wilbur Properties, a Coldwell Banker firm. Mr. Turner outlined in his presentation the requirement for homeowners along the train corridor to disclose the threat posed by eminent domain. That threat falls alongside all other mandatory reporting requirements, such as natural disaster hazards. “What this eminent domain lawyer says is exactly right,” said Klovdahl. “For any of these people that want to sell now, they have to disclose that this could happen, because if they don’t disclose it, and people buy their house and it happens, people could come back and sue that seller.” Gary Patton, a Palo Alto native and head of the Sacramento-based Planning and Conservation League, rallied the attendees after Mr. Turner’s remarks, urging them to join into a united front advocating for a trench-and-cover or tunnel option, rather than elevated tracks. “Lets hang together now,” said Patton, “and make certain that we don’t have a high-speed rail project that runs on an elevated freeway-like structure right through the middle of every community along the SF Peninsula, destroying property values and community values, the local economy and the environment of these cities.” That line was met with boisterous applause from attendees. Chris Klovdahl agreed. “I don’t know one person that wouldn’t want to see the whole thing tunneled,” he said. “The worst is having this albatross above us, like BART. You think BART looks good in Oakland?” The High-Speed Rail Authority, whose CEO, Roelof van Ark, last week said that Peninsula cities should consider the value of trench-and-cover, has nonetheless removed that option for nearly all Peninsula cities. HSRA has yet to respond to numerous attempts by Palo Alto Patch to discern why van Ark was touting an option that has been removed from all current designs.

Foe of eminent domain takes on San Pablo incumbents
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 12 October 2010 1:18 PM

From Contra Cost Times

faxless payday loans


In May, a vocal group of residents, urged on by the national libertarian group Institute for Justice, packed a San Pablo City Council meeting, threatening to vote out or even recall council members if they reinstate the Redevelopment Agency’s lapsed power of eminent domain.

The group included Annabel Peterson, who hopes to unseat one of two incumbents seeking re-election Nov. 2, Mayor Genoveva Garcia Calloway and Vice Mayor Paul Morris; the three candidates are competing for two council seats.

Peterson and her group feared that reinstating eminent domain authority would empower officials to kick residents out of their homes and turn their properties over to developers, notwithstanding a state law that bars agencies from seizing property by eminent domain to turn it over to private entities for development.

Calloway and Morris had argued at several prior council meetings that the agency needs eminent domain authority to assemble sites for development to benefit all residents.

But on May 3, the council caved in, voting 4-0 to abandon the effort, with Councilman Arturo Cruz abstaining.

Today, the eminent domain issue is dormant, although the council could try again as long as the redevelopment plan is in effect. Recent council meetings have reverted to what they used to be before the frenzy over eminent domain: untelevised, un-Webstreamed affairs witnessed by just a handful of people every two weeks.

City officials have announced a campaign of “civic engagement” that is supposed to inform residents about redevelopment and more generally involve them in local government. Today San Pablo is the only one among the five West County cities that does not broadcast council meetings on cable TV or post meeting videos on its website.

Hercules, Pinole and Richmond have had televised candidate forums; San Pablo has not.

Peterson, who is running as a champion of homeowner interests, blew a chance to get her message on the air when she declined an invitation to a planned televised candidates round-table in late August at the Contra Costa Television studios in Martinez, saying she did not have enough time to prepare. Morris, who recently had hip replacement surgery, declined as well because a doctor’s appointment conflicted with the time of the taping. With Calloway the only prospective participant, the studio canceled the forum.

Last week Peterson and Calloway each got a 10-minute slot to make their case for election at “Rock the Vote,” a forum for candidates in several West County races sponsored by the Contra Costa College Associated Students Union; Morris did not attend.

Calloway, a councilwoman since 2002 backed by the Contra Costa County Democratic Party, cited redevelopment projects completed or begun during her tenure, including the Abella Paseo homes, Giant Road Apartments, Pulte homes and El Paseo Family Apartments; Walgreens; Auto Zone; Helms Community Center; and a county health clinic to be built at the former Circle S Mobile Home Park. Calloway also mentioned youth, health and education projects and the civic engagement campaign and said San Pablo must think regionally and partner with local agencies, such as the school and college districts.

Peterson portrayed city government as isolated from its residents, and sometimes directed against them; she accused the code enforcement division of harassing some residents while ignoring legitimate complaints raised by others. She said the city, ignoring pleas from residents, created a security problem in planning public trails behind homes along Davis Park; called for a moratorium on the construction of new apartments; and criticized a planned international student housing complex as a subsidy to wealthy foreign students to the detriment of needy local ones. She said officials lack a “plan for survival” in the event a planned Las Vegas-style Indian casino is built in Richmond — San Pablo’s Lytton Casino has electronic Bingo machines that are less popular than Las Vegas slots. The Lytton Casino provided about $12 million, or about two-thirds of San Pablo’s general fund last fiscal year.

Government should not abuse eminent domain power
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Wednesday 29 September 2010 4:19 PM

From Cincinnati.com

faxless payday loans


City Council recently designated the Gamble House as historically significant after the owner requested a demolition permit. But the city cannot force the owner to invest in or restore the property. Because the owner, the Greenacres Foundation, will not sell to the Cincinnati Preservation Association or anyone else, the city’s options are limited to either allowing the property to deteriorate or to accepting the proposal made by the owner to invest $5 million of private resources to create an outdoor education facility and greenspace.

Another option was proposed this week: Exercise the government’s power of eminent domain to forcibly take the Gamble House.

Eminent domain is an extraordinary power that allows government to trump individual property rights in favor of a public purpose. The public purpose is generally related to roads, utilities and similar infrastructure needs. The power has been abused by government in the past, including a recent local example when Norwood attempted, and the Supreme Court rejected, the taking of homes across the street from the Rookwood Pavilion to facilitate a commercial development.

Preserving the Gamble House is about preserving the legacy of James N. Gamble, son of one of the founders of Procter & Gamble, and his civic and philanthropic contributions to the Queen City. To that end, the owner’s intention for the use of the property should be considered before government steps in and usurps the property.

Greenacres’ plan includes programs for environmental and sustainability education; greenspace for outdoor play; an educational greenhouse; preservation of outbuildings and caretaker facilities; and an endowment to ensure the property can be enjoyed for generations. All of this would be done without a single tax dollar. To lose the main house would be disappointing, but the property can still be a great community asset while honoring the contributions of the Gamble family.

The alternative – using eminent domain – means taxpayer dollars to litigate, purchase and restore the property, and ongoing operating costs. The historic designation process used by the city is questionable, making the eminent domain case a risk. The goodwill and gift of $5 million from Greenacres would be lost. The best choice we can make now is collaboration, not threats of eminent domain, in order to make the best of this situation.

Eminent domain petition launched
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Monday 27 September 2010 11:20 AM

From The Texas Farm Buearu

faxless payday loans

Texas Farm Bureau President Kenneth Dierschke joined Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and a host of state leaders on the south steps of the State Capitol Thursday, Sept. 16, to launch an online petition drive for continued eminent domain reform.

“Protecting our private property rights is a priority issue for the members of the Texas Farm Bureau,” Dierschke said. “Thank you, Commissioner Staples, for your leadership on this issue and for spearheading this very important petition drive.”

Staples says the online petition, www.protectyourhomeandland.com

faxless payday loans
, will demonstrate to state representatives Texans’ strong support of further work to protect private property rights.

“As Texas grows, we must not allow a single property owner to be taken advantage of in the condemnation process,” Staples said. “That is why today I’m asking all Texans to sign the petition and help me deliver the message to the legislature that we must have eminent domain reform.”

In 2009, TFB worked with Staples to pass Proposition 11, a constitutional amendment that ensured private land could not be taken for economic development or tax revenues. Texans approved it with an 81 percent vote.

“But Proposition 11 was only the first step. Now is the time to finish the job,” Dierschke said. “We hope the Texas Legislature will take a serious look at this petition and realize that more needs to be done.”

Landowners concerned over gas companies
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Tuesday 21 September 2010 8:59 AM

From The Standard Speaker

faxless payday loans


HARRISBURG – Landowners concerned about the possibility of losing control of local zoning and personal property rights to natural gas companies gathered at the state capitol building last Tuesday for a press conference followed by a visit to legislative leaders.

The specific targets are forced pooling and zoning exemptions for the natural gas industry. Gas companies are lobbying for both in exchange for a severance tax on gas extraction, which the state Legislature is considering for a vote on Oct. 1.

Forced pooling, also called “conservation pooling,” is when natural gas drillers can force holdout landowners to lease if they are part of a drilling block. Zoning exemption means natural gas companies would not need to go through local planning or zoning hearings for gas wells because they would be considered an allowed use under the zoning ordinance.

“We keep hearing legislators talk about giving away our property rights and our municipal rights in exchange for taxes,” Leslie Avakian of Greenfield Township, Lackawanna County, said. “It violates our Pennsylvania constitutional rights to acquire, possess and protect our own property.”

Forced pooling affects Republicans, Democrats and anti-drilling and pro-drilling people alike, Avakian said.

“This is really bad for everybody,” she said.

On the Capitol steps before the conference, activist Gene Stilp enlisted the aid of some European tourists and natural gas drilling awareness group members to help set up a 25-foot-tall inflatable Liberty Bell with the slogan “Forced pooling violates our U.S. property rights.”

“This subterranean eminent domain is something every Pennsylvanian will realize is a violation of their constitutional rights,” Stilp said.

Duke Barrett of Dallas said a severance tax should not be linked in any way to forced pooling or zoning exemption. The gas companies want forced pooling to get prime landowners who might not want to lease, he said.

“Gas companies are showing their contempt for property rights,” Barrett said. “They only care for the golden calf of profits over people.”

Sullivan County resident John Trallo of the Responsible Drilling Alliance also said forced pooling is not in the public interest.

“Why would they negotiate if the gas company knows they’re going to get it anyway?” he said.

Kingston resident Paula Chaiken worries about forced pooling because the camp in Lehman Township that her three sons attend is surrounded by land leased to natural gas companies. About 400 children attend the camp, including 50 with autism and other special needs, she said.

“Even my 4-year-old Teddy learned basic consideration,” Chaiken said. “Unlike forced pooling proponents, my 4-year-old knows ‘no means no’ when it comes to someone else’s property.”

Zoning ordinances are designed specifically to protect residents’ quality of life and safety, and are written with forethought and planning by taxpayers, Janine Dymond of the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition said.

“No industry should have the right to negate these,” she said.

The speakers urged residents to lobby their legislators. They also decided to drop in on House and Senate leaders to find out where they stand on the subject, as there are only nine days left in this legislation session.

The first stop was in the office of House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township. He was on the floor at the time, but his aides assured the residents that at least in the House form of the severance tax bill, forced pooling and zoning exemption would not be included.

Eachus later confirmed that the House bill “would not include those issues.” The severance tax focus is on protecting the water supply and the environment, and ensuring local communities affected by natural gas drilling get their fair share, he said. House members are working on reaching a consensus on the bill, he said.

However, the Republican-controlled Senate’s version of the bill could be a different story. Eachus said the public should “have a heightened sense of awareness.”

The Senate was not in session Tuesday, so its leaders weren’t in their offices.

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester County, was out of town, and his staffers who handle Marcellus Shale-related issues were not in either.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson County, was also unavailable, but his director of policy and legislative affairs, Casey Long, spoke with residents.

He said Scarnati has not made a stand on forced pooling, and is working with local government organizations – Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, Pennsylvania State Boroughs Association and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania – on the zoning issue.

Before leaving, the residents dropped by the office of Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, and were immediately told by her spokeswoman Maggie Giannelli that the senator strongly opposes forced pooling.

“That’s the first straight answer we heard all day,” Bradford County resident Suellen Howard said.

Senator seeks to reform state’s eminent domain laws
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Monday 13 September 2010 5:41 PM

From The Wisconsin Law Journal

faxless payday loans


When it comes to use of the state’s eminent domain laws, one man’s blight can be another man’s beauty.

“It’s a lot like looking at the Mona Lisa,” said Niebler, Pyzyk, Roth & Carrig attorney Robert W. Roth. “These laws are really in the eye of beholder.”

But Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, is looking to remove the subjectivity involved when municipalities deem property blighted in the name of commerce.

She argued that the current laws are both broad and confusing when it comes to a clear definition of blight.

Specifically, Lazich took issue with language in Wisconsin’s General Municipality Law (Wis. Stat. 66.1333(2m)(b)3), which in part, defines a blighted area as one which “substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the community.”

“That is so broad that the Taj Mahal would probably fall into that definition,” she said.

Blight is also defined in Chapter 32 of the state’s eminent domain statutes, but the language primarily relates to residential properties that are abandoned or dilapidated.

Earlier this year, the City of Greenfield planned to use its eminent domain powers to acquire several operating business properties as part of a redevelopment plan along Loomis Road and Interstate 894.

But property owners fought the move and in August, the city put the redevelopment plans on hold.

In June, a groundswell of public criticism prompted Oak Creek to abandon its plan to acquire the 25-acre farm of 94-year-old Earl Giefer as part of a development plan.

A clearer definition of blight could prevent a repeat of the situations in Greenfield and Oak Creek, suggested Jason Adkins, staff attorney in the Minnesota Chapter of the Institute for Justice.

He represented property owners in the U.S. Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), which prompted eminent domain reform in 42 states, including Wisconsin.

In the wake of the decision, the state instituted a ban on transfers of non-blighted property from one private party to another and also prohibited false blight determinations on residential properties, unless abandoned.

“The key is ensuring that cities cannot use blight as a pretext for doing old-style redevelopment takings,” said Adkins. “Right now you have cities testing eminent domain power and the ambiguity in Wisconsin law has allowed them to do so.”

While public opposition put an end to the situations in Oak Creek and Greenfield, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren real estate litigator John M. Van Lieshout suggested that eventually, municipalities will push back.

If that happens, it may be up to a judge to interpret the meaning of blight.

“It could be a place like Wauwatosa or Hartford which wants to condemn land for the high speed rail,” Van Lieshout said. “Even if people oppose it, that situation is certainly a candidate for bare-knuckle boxing where nobody backs down.”

Historically, Van Lieshout said courts tend to favor municipalities in eminent domain cases in which officials argue that takings tied to development will increase the tax base or create more jobs.

But Roth said allowing cities to condemn someone’s current use of their property simply because of the way it looks is “a little rough.”

“A narrow definition would be more protective of individual property rights and those are right at the core of our constitutional freedoms,” he said.

Lazich, whose constituency includes Greenfield residents, agreed that the law needs to be clearer to provide security for property owners.

As it is, she said “clearly, they would not have the law on their side.”

“If businesses and property owners can be scooped up and swallowed so easily, then there is a problem with the law,” said Lazich, who plans to introduce legislation to clarify the statutes in early 2011.

O.B. council restricts eminent domain power
faxless payday loans

Posted by admin | Issues
faxless payday loans
, Property Rights
faxless payday loans
| Wednesday 8 September 2010 4:08 PM

From The Sayreville Suburban

faxless payday loans


OLD BRIDGE — In response to public demand, the Township Council has adopted an ordinance that limits the power of eminent domain.

The law restricts the seizure power of the township’s government under eminent domain. The council discussed the matter in June, and voted to unanimously to approve it during its Aug. 16 meeting.

“This was the result of a cooperative effort between both the Republican and Democratic council members,” Councilman at-Large Brian Cahill said. “Both sides just seemed to get it.”

Cahill initiated discussion about the topic after resident Tony Paskitti approached him with concerns about the language of the standard eminent domain ordinance. Following the June 28 discussion, Cahill and Paskitti worked with Township Attorney Jerome Convery to draft the ordinance and put it in the proper format. Cahill said a committee was not formed, as the council often does to study an issue and come up with recommendations.

When the ordinance was put up for first reading, some residents and council members were not entirely satisfied with the language, Cahill said.

“There was a good debate on the issue, and several people wanted the language of the document relevant to New Jersey,” he said.

The final ordinance stipulates in its purpose that “the Township Council will not use the power of eminent domain granted to the township by statute or otherwise to acquire private property against the wishes of the property owner for private development solely to increase tax ratable or tax revenue derived from the property…”

As per the ordinance, the township could only seize property when it is for a public use or when an acquisition is necessary to eliminate blight.

The ordinance cites Kelo v. City of New London and Gallenthin Realty v. Borough of Plainsboro as supporting court cases. The new law became effective at the time of adoption.

Paskitti said the measure was necessary in order to protect the residents of Old Bridge.

“In some well-documented cases in New Jersey and across the U.S., local governments have condemned [deemed properties to be blighted] and then seized that property under the umbrella of eminent domain, only in turn to sell that property to a developer,” Paskitti said in a letter to the Suburban. “In my opinion, that is flat-out wrong and borders on legalized theft.”

“This ordinance will truly protect Old Bridge citizens from overzealous elected officials and have a lasting effect on our quality of life here in Old Bridge for all property owners.”

Cahill said the township has a history of taking advantage of one-time revenue sources, and that more restrictions on eminent domain needed to be implemented to avoid residential property seizure.

“The next level would be seizing property to increase revenue in order to fill in gaps in the budget,” he said. “I’m not saying that there was a plan to do that, and I’m not accusing anyone of such actions, but I felt compelled to put something in place that would prevent government officials from doing that 10 or 20 years down the line.”

Next Page »
faxless payday loans
e-wallet Wordpress Theme