Friday, December 8, 2006
"N.J. court upholds eminent domain: It said preserving open space is an adequate reason to take private property"
Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has an article that begins:
In a decision highlighting the value of open space in the nation's most densely populated state, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Mount Laurel acted properly when it seized a developer's land to preserve open space.
"We recognize ... that the citizens of New Jersey have expressed a strong and sustained public interest in the acquisition and preservation of open space," the state's highest court said in the 6-1 decision.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, called the court's action an "important victory" for people and municipalities concerned about the impact of sprawl on the dwindling amount of undeveloped land in the state.
"In the race for open space, New Jersey just picked up a lot of speed," said Tittel.
The case has been closely watched in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court decision giving wider authority to local governments to use eminent-domain powers to seize private property for economic revitalization - not just for more traditional reasons such as building highways and government buildings.
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