The concept of eminent domain may still seem to be difficult to comprehend for many in Philadelphia. While may be understandable why local governments would want to take dilapidated properties and use the land for public works projects, many may still fail to see how people who are living on coveted land (and paying property tax on it) can be forced to sell it and relocate when they do not want to. Ultimately it comes down to a question of land use.
The laws governing eminent domain (or more specifically, the standards government entities must meet before invoking it) differ from state-to-state. A recent case showed those in New York to be being able to demonstrate a community benefit and, on the flip side, a diminished environmental impact. That was the case village officials tried to make when justifying their attempt to try and bur a parcel of land owned by a local historical association. The state Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the association, agreeing that the village’s represented had not sufficiently support their claims that their proposed parking garage would not impact the environment and would not contribute to traffic problems. The historical association bought the land over 11 years with the intention of building a museum. That plan has yet to materialize.
It may be easy for local residents or small business owners to feel as though the deck is stacked against them in eminent domain cases. However, with the right source of support and assistance, they may be able to make a compelling counterargument to their local government’s reasons to take their land. An experienced attorney might easily fill the role of such a source.
Source: Glen Falls Post-Star “Village of Lake Placid loses eminent domain case to museum” Kelly, Griffin, May 06, 2018