Yesterday the Budget Committee of the New Jersey State Senate favorably reviewed and recommended approval of legislation that would codify important restrictions on the use of eminent domain in local redevelopment projects, and also would provide municipalities with the opportunity to undertake redevelopment projects without using eminent domain.
The bill, S-2447, mirrors companion legislation (A-3615) which was unanimously approved by the State Assembly last month. Co-sponsored by State Senators Rice and Van Drew, S-2447 codifies the protections for property owners created by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Gallenthin Realty Development Inc. v. Paulsboro, 191 N.J. 344 (2007). It also confirms the holding of a New Jersey appellate court in Harrison Redevelopment Agency v. DeRose, 398 N.J. Super. 361 (App. Div. 2008), which held that adequate written notice of condemnation for redevelopment needs to be provided during the redevelopment planning process.
The other significant provision in this legislation is that local governments will be given an option as to whether they will be empowered to use eminent domain to acquire properties in redevelopment areas. If signed into law, this bill could help to spur redevelopment in certain areas without having to threaten the property rights of the existing owners.
This legislative action was reported in yesterday’s New Jersey Law Journal, and has also been the subject of our two recent blog posts, regarding the passage of the Assembly version, and also regarding earlier action in another State Senate Committee.
If the Senate legislation is approved by the full Senate, it will be presented to Governor Christie for approval and signature.