A New Jersey appellate Court on Monday upheld a $4.4 million valuation of a parking lot condemned by the city of Hoboken. In Ponte Equities Inc. et al. v. City of Hoboken, the property owners sought additional damages claiming that the city lowered the market value of the 1-acre lot before taking it for a park. They argued that the valuation date should have been earlier due to these alleged actions. The court rejected the argument and held that there was insufficient evidence that the city “directly, unequivocally and immediately stimulate[d] an upward or downward fluctuation in value and which is directly attributable to a future condemnation,” the opinion stated.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the appeal of the owner of a Florida Keys island who alleged that increasingly restrictive development regulations have harmed his property rights. The property owner argued that the zoning of the 9-acre Bamboo Key as a bird rookery constituted a taking. Florida’s lower court ruled that the city of Marathon’s payment of rate of growth ordinance points, which can be used toward the purchase of one of a limited number of development permits, was just compensation for the property. The property owner argued that the compensation received was a nonmonetary credit that was virtually useless.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear a developer’s case against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection over a permit denial for a beachfront parcel. The case relates to a DEP denial of a final permit for a project to build 17 luxury townhouse units on an oceanfront site. After the DEP’s decision, the developer lost the property through foreclosure, and a principal at the firm ended up with a roughly $10 million personal judgment, which prompted the firm to sue the DEP and claim the denial was a regulatory taking. The company won at the trial court level, but the Fourth District Court of Appeal last year held the case was in part “unripe” because the developer could have considered an alternative development plan. The Florida Supreme Court declined to revive the decision in March.
To address the homeless crisis, NY City will acquire buildings that house homeless families to convert them to affordable housing, using with legal force if necessary. It has stated that it will use eminent domain if necessary.
The city has rented apartments in private buildings to house homeless families since the Giuliani administration. On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio said the city would buy 25 to 30 of the buildings where more than 50 percent of the occupants are homeless and turn them into permanent, affordable housing. The city said it will use eminent domain if the owners don’t agree to sell.
About 3,000 homeless New Yorkers live in the buildings the city plans to buy, and they will be able to stay in those apartments.
A NJ appellate court ruled that the state’s Sports and Exposition Authority had the right to use eminent domain to acquire a landfill to continue solid waste disposal there. The Court held that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority could use eminent domain to acquire the Keegan landfill. The agency also was not obligated to honor the terms of a prior agreement with the town of Kearny to turn the landfill into a public recreation space, dismissing the municipality’s allegations that the agency violated the U.S. Constitution’s contract clause. “NJSEA did not violate the Contract Clause as it was duly authorized to use eminent domain to condemn the landfill,” the decision states. “[I]t exercised that authority in furtherance of one of its stated purposes; and eminent domain is an essential attribute of state sovereignty that cannot be contracted away.” The case is New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority v. Town of Kearny et al., case number A-5152-15T1, in the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division.
A New Mexico utility has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a decision precluding it from condemning land for a power line because the Navajo Nation held an interest in that property. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held there is no federal law permitting tribal lands to be condemned. That Court affirmed a lower court’s decision.
The Public Service Co. of New Mexico, also known as PNM, told the Supreme Court in a Nov. 20 petition that the ruling threatens the national power grid by effectively blocking Congress’ authorization of condemnation of allotted tribal lands. “In sum, the increasing need for condemnation to maintain and extend critical infrastructure will converge with the increasing unavailability of condemnation, and thus create a major problem for utilities and the public,” the company said.
The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that the city of Marietta violated the Georgia Landowner’s Bill of Rights when it condemned a grocery store without providing a summary of its appraisal to the property owner. The City argued that these provisions were not mandatory. This was rejected by a unanimous Court explaining that the law is “an essential prerequisite to the filing of a petition to condemn,” and that because the city failed to fulfill that prerequisite, its petition to condemn the property must be dismissed.
The Louisiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments whether St. Bernard Parish port officials violated Louisiana’s eminent domain laws when they seized a privately run port operation along a mile of Mississippi River frontage in 2010. The property owner argued that port officials were trying to take the property at a bargain price and transfer it to a competitor. Louisiana law provides that “no business enterprise or any of its assets shall be taken for the purpose of operating that enterprise or halting competition with a government enterprise.” The property owner has support from national groups such as the Institute for Justice and the Pacific Legal Foundation. Attorneys for the port argued that Louisiana law specifically singles out ports and airports when it comes to the kind of “public purpose” that justifies eminent domain, citing the need “to facilitate the transport of goods or persons in domestic or international commerce.” The case is on appeal from a 2-1 split decision by a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A bill was introduced in the PA House of Representatives which stating that “in the case of a partial taking of the property of a condemnee, a condemnor may not render the remaining parcel inaccessible to the condemnee by creating a landlocked property with no ingress or egress to or from a public road or highway.” The bill contains an exception in the event the condemnee consents to that taking. The bill, HB 1773, was introduced on September 12, 2017 and was referred to the Committee on State Government.
A Florida developer petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a $10 million takings case against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection The developer alleged that the DEP’s denial of a development permit for a beachfront parcel was an unlawful taking. The developer intended to build 17 luxury townhouse units Fort Pierce, Florida
The trial court found the DEP’s denial constituted a taking. However, the Florida Court of Appeals reversed that decision and the Florida Supreme Court denied the developer’s petition to hear the case. The Court of Appeals found that the developer should have applied for a variance or waiver after its permit was initially denied even though the trial court found that a request for variance or waiver would have been futile. Therefore, the Court of Appeals held, the case was not “ripe.”
The developer’s petition for writ to Scotus states, “This Court should grant Beach Group’s Petition for writ of certiorari to address the miscarriage of justice resulting from the court of appeal’s reversal of the trial court’s order of taking, and to address the important federal questions of (1) whether landowners must submit and be denied economically impracticable development plans to ripen a regulatory taking claim, and (2) whether regulatory taking ripeness always requires pursuit of a variance, essentially doing away with this Court’s futility exception.”