About a year ago, the Philadelphia RDA condemned property owned by a nationally recognized artist. This condemnation received a great deal of local and national attention including newspaper and radio coverage (I was interviewed by one station). The property owner, James Dupree, used this property as his studio. The property was one of 17 properties… Continue Reading
The New Jersey Appellate Division recently held that Hoboken cannot designate an 11.5-acre site in the city as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” which had allowed it to implement a redevelopment plan. It found that the Hoboken City council misinterpreted the appropriate statute. The Appellate Division held that it was unclear whether the council… Continue Reading
Mayor Nutter recently signed the Land Bank law and predicted that the City could start selling the its vacant and tax-delinquent properties by the end of the year. The bill creates a new entity to manage Philadelphia’s vacant land, acquire tax-delinquent properties and sell them. There is an estimated 9,500 city-owned vacant properties and 17,000… Continue Reading
The Texas Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a challenge to a jury’s award of “stigma” damages for contaminated property that was remediated. In that case, the Court will consider whether temporary environmental harm can form the basis of a cause of action. Oral argument is scheduled for Dec. 5. The case is Houston Unlimited… Continue Reading
The PA House of Representatives passed a bill decreasing the time allowed for nonprofit organizations to rehabilitate and sell abandoned blighted properties. HB 1363 seeks to amend the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act by decreasing the time for court action on a petition from within 120 days of receipt of the petition to 60… Continue Reading
The Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a bill which would permit governmental entities to sell its public parks. The concern expressed by many – including newspaper columnists and groups such as the League of Women Voters – is that government officials will improperly use this as a “quick fix” to solve fiscal problems. For example,… Continue Reading
On April 25, 2011, the Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, approved on October 27, 2010, became effective. The Act grants municipalities two primary tools to prosecute derelict owners of real estate in Pennsylvania and force owners to correct serious code violations and public nuisances. The first tool is the right to sue the owner… Continue Reading
Terry Gillen has resigned as Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and will be replaced by Ed Covington, a Wachovia Bank executive.
On July 6, 2010, Governor Rendell signed the Fiscal Code Bill (Senate Bill 1042), providing, in part, for the automatic suspension, during the "extension period" (which begins after December 31, 2008, and ends before July 2, 2013), of approvals granted by a government agency for or in effect during the extension period, whether obtained before… Continue Reading
The City of Philadelphia has until March 2011 to spend $45 million to fight blight.
The money is the last of the bond proceeds for the city’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative that former Mayor John F. Street started in 2001 to demolish abandoned buildings and acquire vacant properies.
Pennsylvania will receive $68.8 million and New Jersey will get $46.8 million in federal stimulus funds for housing redevelopment projects. These projects will include acquiring blighted properties. It is virtually certain that many will be acquired through the power of eminent domain.
New York’s highest court ruled on Tuesday that private property could be condemned for the “Atlantic Yards” project. That project involves, among other things, an NBA arena and 16 office and residential towers in Brooklyn. The properties were purportedly condemned to eliminate “blight.”
A Philadelphia City Controller audit found significant accounting and reporting problems with former Mayor John Street’s anti-blight effort, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. The audit found that NTI, as of June 30, 2008, had failed to make nearly $13 million in payments on nearly 1,500 condemned properties awaiting settlement in court.
There can be no question that eminent domain remains a hot button issue. Regardless of your role in an eminent domain project, it is critical to always be mindful of this fact which was made evident by two recent articles.
The Battle over the taking of property for, among other things, an NBA arena and 16 office and residential towers in has moved to New York’s highest Court and will be argued in Albany on October 14.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined hearing a case that could have directly addressed “Kelo” issues.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has established a program to provide grants to state and local governments to purchase abandoned and foreclosed properties.
The City Commissioners of Ventnor, New Jersey, have passed a law limiting that City’s ability to condemn properties for redevelopment projects that involve private developers.
New Jersey Senate Committee Advances Eminent Domain Legislation
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently upheld the condemnation of a strip club for the use of a Charter School.
The Pennsylvania House Urban Affairs Committee recently approved legislation intended to give municipalities and others more power to deal with blighted and abandoned properties.
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority – which regularly uses its power of eminent domain – will have a new chairperson. John Dougherty announced that he will step down as chairman of the RDA. Mayor Nutter has said that he will appoint a new chair soon.