A quote from today's Star Ledger states the following:
New Jersey's 15-year-old Local Redevelopment and Housing Law requires that an area be declared blighted before a municipality can use eminent domain to take a property and sell it to private developers.
There is an important piece of information missing from here and that is the legal definition of blighted, so I looked it up. This is what I found:
Because the New Jersey Constitution authorizes government redevelopment of only "blighted" areas, the Legislature did not intend N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-5(e) to apply in circumstances where the sole basis for redevelopment is that the property is "not fully productive." Rather, subsection 5(e) applies only to areas that, as a whole, are stagnant and unproductive because of issues of title, diversity of ownership, or other similar conditions.
This was taken from the transcript of Gallenthin Realty Development, Inc. v. Borough of Paulsboro. Before this decision eminent domain could be exercised on any property that was deemed not being used to its fullest capabilities, which is almost any property.
All this information is important because the Linwood Inn in Linden has been targeted by the township for acquisition. The owners bought it in 2000 when it was still in good condition and have pumped $500,000 into restoring it and now the township has deemed it blighted and wants to replace it with apartments for commuters.
What was the township's excuse for not considering their plea? The "city's hands are basically tied because of its contract with the developer". So now a township can circumvent the rights' of its own residents by making contracts with developers?! There is no end to the eminent domain abuse that exists in NJ.
Please check out the article here.