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  • The Trouble With Eminent Domain In New York

    New York eminent domain law is in need of reform. Between vague statutory terms and the limited review provided by the Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL), New York law, as currently written and interpreted, enables the execution of policy not authorized by law, and encourages the fabrication of pretextual purposes to evade public accountability. In this article, we look at the traditional public purpose of redeveloping blighted areas, and the latitude that is created by the interaction of authorizing statutes and limited judicial review to use blight removal as a pretext for private purposes, and thereby evade constitutional safeguards and public accountability. As a result, effective legal control over the exercise of eminent domain is frustrated; communities and businesses are made vulnerable to any well connected developer interested in taking over the land. Therefore, confidence in government is eroded, as secret and deceptive policy decisions result in the appearance, if not the actuality, of impermissible favoritism and pretext.