September 23rd, 2008 — By — In News & Events

Eminent Domain Reform Possible in NY

In a NY Sun article yesterday, NY State Senator Bill Perkins, Democrat from Harlem, is said to be calling for a moratorium on eminent domain and a possible push for greater restrictions on the use of eminent domain. “I don’t know of too many other issues where you have such diverse and pervasive outrage,” Perkins said in a recent interview.

Last week Senator Perkins held a hearing on the use of eminent domain in New York State. Although supporters for both sides attended the hearing, advocates for property rights and opponents of proposed eminent domain projects in NY (including the proposed Columbia University expansion, Willets Point and Atlantic Yards projects) provided the majority of the testimony. A detailed account of the hearing by Norman Oder is posted at the Atlantic Yards Report, Thursday, September 18, 2008: At state Senate hearing, calls for reform of state eminent domain laws, notably blight.

In his testimony, OCA Member and NY attorney, Michael Rikon, argued that “the use of this most extreme power should be limited to a true public purpose.” Rikon noted that in Kelo v. New London the Court upheld the takings as they occurred within an integrated development plan. “Actually,” Rikon explained, “the Supreme Court had it wrong.” “There was no integrated development plan by New London. There were no obligations by the developer at all.” Rikon called for reform in the current law and a temporary commission. Rikon’s firm, Goldstein, Goldstein, Rikon & Gottlieb, PC, is the only law firm in NY state that limits its practice to condemnation law.

Other witnesses who testified included Christina Walsh of the Institute for Justice, Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and a property owner in the Atlantic Yards footprint, attorney and urban planner Michael D. D. White of Noticing New York, Nick Spraygen a landowner in the Columbia University footprint, Walter South a member of Manhattan Community Board 9, and NY State Senator Jose Serrano.

The above photo was taken by Lucy Koteen and originally published at the Atlantic Yards Report, Thursday, September 18, 2008.

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